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"If you have a whole bunch of oxycodone, that's a felony," Opferman says."If you have a bunch of other prescription medications, that flies under the radar." In one high-profile case, the FDA in 20 sent almost 1,000 letters to medical practices in 48 states warning that they may have purchased a counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin that had no active ingredient.In the take was million worth of the asthma medication Advair, some of which later surfaced for sale to the public at 22 pharmacies in Texas, where it had entered the vast and dangerous black market for prescription drugs.By all accounts, the drug supply in the United States is among the safest and most controlled in the world.

" says Thomas Kubic, president of the nonprofit Pharmaceutical Security Institute. To combat the rising tide of fakery, in 2013 President Barack Obama signed a law tightening the drug distribution system.Over the next five hours, the Villas and another man used a forklift to load more than 40 pallets of pharmaceuticals, including antipsychotic and cancer drugs.By a.m., the rig was headed for Miami, where as much as 0 million worth of medication was stashed into self-storage units.How many people are harmed or killed by suspect drugs? According to Bruce Foucart, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which was established in 1999 to fight counterfeiting, "It's very difficult to prove" — even when a person dies."Unless a complete autopsy was done, we will never know the answer." Illicit drugs are most likely to target Americans age 50 or older, who are responsible for 71 percent of outpatient prescriptions.

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