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Fake drugs and medicines are becoming a top concern among members of the public, who want to see stiff prison sentences introduced for counterfeiters.
Research by patient-safety agency Aegate reveals that over a million Britons have been fooled by fake drugs, many of them bought over the internet.
Most blame the suppliers, with 38% saying the manufacturer is responsible for fake prescription medicines, while a third point the finger at wholesalers and 26% at pharmacists.
Two thirds believe that penalties should be between five and 15 years in prison, substantially higher than the current law – and nearly a fifth say a life sentence would be justified.
Meanwhile, 80% said they would feel more confident if medicine packs contained safety features allowing pharmacists to verify that drugs are genuine before dispensing them.
Says Aegate boss Gary Noon: “Patient safety should be the industry’s priority, from the regulator to the manufacturer to the pharmacist, and it is clear we need to ensure the pharmacist has the right tools in place to carry out such an important task.”
Copyright Press Association 2009