US warns doctors to beware fake drug distributors



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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators are trying to help doctors spot counterfeit and unapproved drugs by raising awareness of illegal operations that peddle bogus drugs to health professionals.

Federal prosecutors have recently uncovered rogue companies distributing foreign versions of Botox, fake cancer drugs and other unapproved or contaminated medicines in the U.S. Often those operations will entice physicians by faxing "too good to be true" flyers that offer 75 percent or more off pricey injectable drugs.

Beginning Tuesday, the government's Food and Drug Administration will push back with its own educational campaign, faxing flyers to physicians across the country on how to recognize bogus offers and counterfeit drugs.

The World Health Organization estimates that global sales of medicines that are fake, contaminated or otherwise illegal total $430 billion a year.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Matthew Perrone

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