The New York Times today jumps into the fray regarding the dangers of counterfeit drugs in an editorial. They do so from the perspective of those buying drugs over the Internet:
Tempted to buy cheap medicines from a pharmacy Web site? Think twice. If the Web site shows no verifiable street address for the pharmacy, there is a 50 percent chance the drugs are counterfeit.
In rich countries, fake medicines mainly come from virtual stores. Elsewhere, they are on the pharmacy shelves. In much of the former Soviet Union, 20 percent of the drugs on sale are fakes. In parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, 30 percent are counterfeit. The culprits range from mom-and-pop operations processing chalk in their garages to organized-crime networks that buy the complicity of regulators, customs officials and pharmacists.
The editorial goes on to the deaths from counterfeits and the ways developing countries have been fighting it, and otherwise serves to further sound the alarm of buying medication when you don’t know its origins.
As those in the pharmaceutical drug trade know, the issue of counterfeits has been a hot topic before the FDA in recent years. It is also, most certainly, not confined to foreign counterfeits as we have purely domestic counterfeiting going on.
After identifying the problem, the Times makes its pitch for action, writing:
An international convention is also needed to establish stiffer penalties for counterfeiting drugs, and marshal more funds and support to fight this deadly crime.
That’s a great idea. And we can start right here at home with legislation currently stuck in congressional committees. The pending legislation before both the House and the Senate comes in the form of Tim Fagan’s Law, named for one of my clients.
For more on the issues, you can visit my own Counterfeit Drug Resource Page, and read more about the problem by clicking on the Counterfeit Crugs label on your left and seeing other posts on the subject.