Pill pitfalls: Tips to make sure your medication is safe

  • A prescription is being filled at a community health center in Aurora, Colo., March 27, 2012. Getty Images

    A prescription is filled at a community health center in Aurora, Colo., March 27, 2012.(CBS News) Recent headlines about fake versions of pharmaceuticals such as Avastin flooding the market show how tough it can be to tell if your medication is safe. In the U.S. alone, there have already been three instances where fake cancer drugs and blood thinners were discovered.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physicians prescribe or give 2.3 billion different kids of drugs a year, and medication is necessary in 74 percent of doctor's visits. Not only is the potential for counterfeit drugs to make its way to your cabinet a real threat, but properly prescribed medications can pose a safety threat if not taken properly.

    Roger Bate, an economist who has written several books about the problem of counterfeit medications including "Phake: The Deadly World of Falsified and Substandard Medicines," has followed the dangerous trend for years. His recent work focuses on tracking down counterfeit and substandard medicines, and he consults organizations on the subject. With help from Bate, here are eight safety tips to help make sure what you're putting in your body will help cure you, not kill you.