On Sunday, Chinese authorities arrested nearly 2,000 suspects in an enormous fake drug crackdown that spanned the entire country. During the operation, nearly $180 million worth of counterfeit productions were obtained, and roughly 1,100 facilities were taken down in the process. According to NBC News, over 18,000 police officers took part in the crackdown.
However, officials are stating that, while they are pleased with the outcome of the recent raids, there is still quite a bit of work to be done to eradicate this problem.
“The crime of making fake drugs is still far from eradicated, and criminals are coming up with new schemes, becoming craftier and better able to deceive,” the Ministry of Public Security said. “The criminals’ methods were despicable and have caused people to boil with rage.”
Earlier this year, Chinese citizens were shocked to learn about the potential dangers these fake drugs could hold. Several reports claimed that many of the illegal pills were tainted with chromium, which could lead to severe organ damage and failure down the road.
Bloomberg reports that China just criminalized the production of fake pharmaceutical drugs last year, going as far as to sentence folks to the death penalty for participating in the creation of these potentially harmful medications. In order to continuing cracking down on such operations, the Ministry of Public Security has offered a 50,000 yuan reward to anyone who contributes useful information regarding illegal drug production rings.
According to the Washington-based group International Policy Network, China and India are the leading suppliers of fake pharmaceuticals. For malaria and tuberculosis sufferers, these faux pills contribute to approximately 700,000 deaths per year. The World Health Organization has estimated that less than one percent of all drugs in developed markets are fake, while 30 percent of medications in developing markets could, in fact, be counterfeit.