World Health Organization estimates tens of thousands of children die as a result of the $30bn spent on counterfeit drugs

An estimated one in 10 medicines in poor countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases such as malaria and pneumonia every year, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

In the first attempt by the WHO to assess the problem, experts reviewed 100 studies involving more than 48,000 medicines. Drugs for treating malaria and bacterial infections accounted for nearly 65% of fake medicines, it found.

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