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Fake drugs targeted by Interpol

Twenty nine drug companies will provide $5.9 million each over the next three years as a part of the deal.

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Interpol is teaming up with pharmaceutical companies in a deal to tackle counterfeit drug trafficking. (Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

Interpol has announced that it will team up with the pharmaceutical industry to tackle counterfeit prescription drugs.

Twenty-nine drug companies will provide $5.9 million each over the next three years as a part of the deal.

Drug companies say the deal helps to protect consumers' health.

"In the case of drug counterfeiting, it can mean the difference between life and death for a patient," said Christopher Viehbacher, CEO of the French drug company Sanofi, reported the BBC.

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"It is estimated that 10 percent of medicines are fake and these figures can go up to 50%, particularly in some poorer countries."

The funds will be used to boost crime-fighting and investigations in individual countries.

Counterfeit drugs cause hundreds of thousands of illnesses and deaths every year.

“This support from a group of 29 companies from the pharmaceutical industry forms a bridge between the public and private sectors and will assist Interpol and each of its 190 member countries to more effectively tackle the problem of medical product counterfeiting," said the Secretary General of Interpol Ronald K. Noble in a statement, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

GlobalPost has previously written about a study which found that nearly one-third of malaria drugs around the world are fake.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/130312/fake-drugs-targeted-interpol