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Big Data: 1,500 drugs collected

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By Globe Staff 

1,500: That’s the number of reports of fake or substandard drugs the World Health Organization has collected since it began keeping tabs on the growing problem in 2013. One in 10 medicines in the developing world are either counterfeit or substandard, according to the findings reported in the journal Nature. Malaria medicines are the most often counterfeited drugs, followed by antibiotics, painkillers, cancer, and heart medication. The WHO acknowledges that these statistics are probably only a small fraction of the true number of cases, since fake drugs are often not detected or not reported. Worse still, there are no plans to tackle the problem.


Alex Kingsbury can be reached at alex.kingsbury@globe.com.