This impeccably researched, well-organized book fully addresses the underworld of pharmaceutical counterfeiting and the longitudinal effects of this unsavory commerce. . . .Starting with the dark history of drug safety that had roots in the US, the book makes an impressive case regarding the difficulty/impossibility of tracking and prosecuting drug forgers, and the author provides a reasonable approach for ensuring safety for US products. He addresses the most problematic issues by country, including the intricacies of how each nation polices or ignores drug forgery. Well-designed charts/graphs assist readers to understand the volumes of data Bate has amassed during his travels. Numerous pictures clearly illustrate the difficulty of identifying fake drugs, both for health professionals and consumers. Bate's writing style is scientific and logical, but highly accessible to curious readers. He offers an honest critique of the pharmaceutical business, sharing his extraordinary insight and analysis of current drug counterfeiting issues and spot-on speculation of what the future holds for this problem. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers.
Economist Bate (fellow, American Enterprise Inst.) here expands on his brief 2008 book, Making a Killing: The Deadly Implications of the Counterfeit Drug Trade. For this work, he traveled the world, investigating drugs that were less potent than they should have been (and therefore less likely to be effective), adulterated with agents ranging from talc to toxins, made available for purchase past their expiration date, and—the major focus—falsified, intentionally mislabeled, or counterfeit and intended to mislead the purchaser (as in the case of Viagra). Bate is attentive to the problem of fake drugs sold over the Internet, and his experiences online as well as his personal connections with government officials highlight his deep interest in and knowledge of the subject. Bate outlines the fake drug situation in Asia, the Middle East, Russia, and Turkey, among other places, but devotes the most attention to the "phake" industry in Nigeria, India, and China. VERDICT No scientific knowledge is necessary to understand and appreciate the problems that Bate addresses. Anyone concerned about the quality of prescription medications will find this book of interest. (Index not seen.)—Martha Stone, Treadwell Lib., Boston