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Counterfeit Drugs Trouble Asia, officials say at Phnom Penh conference

Five Asian countries began on Wednesday in Phnom Penh a three-day meeting to discuss regional fight against counterfeit drugs.

“Combating counterfeit drugs is very important for the region,” said Grégoire Chassaing, French internal security attaché. “The region is affected by both the production and consumption”.

The seminar, supported by French embassy, brought medical experts from Cambodia, China, Laos, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Cambodia’s health officials said because of poverty people need cheap drugs which subsequently lead to the import of counterfeit medicine.

WHO medical advisor William Mfuko said counterfeit medicine could be produced with lack of ingredients, which can cause resistance and death.

However, WHO says counterfeit drugs in Cambodia have declined from between 10 and 13 percent three years ago to 8 percent in 2009 because of international cooperation Cambodia has.

Experts from China and Laos recognized difficulty in fighting counterfeit drugs, but urged severe punishment on criminals.