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May 24, 2018

How fake drugs can make you sicker — even if you never take them

From fake malaria drugs to herbal supplements filled with stimulants, counterfeit medicine is everywhere. The problem is hard to track, it spans the globe, and if left unchecked, it’ll not only hurt those who take the fake drugs but everyone who needs to take medicine.

That’s according to Boston University biomedical engineer Muhammad Zaman, who is the author of Bitter Pills: The Global War on Counterfeit Drugs. Growing up in Pakistan, Zaman was always aware that certain pharmacies couldn’t be trusted, and it wasn’t until later that he realized that that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Then in 2012, a public health crisis unfolded in Lahore, Pakistan’s capital: 213 people died in a matter of weeks because of heart drugs that contained...

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