The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateApril 12, 2010
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PSM Delivers Recommendations to IPEC Regarding the Joint Strategic Plan

Given the growing threat of counterfeit drugs around the world, the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) goes to great lengths to inform and educate consumers, health care professionals and policymakers about this multifaceted issue.

Most recently, we submitted recommendations to the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) following its request for comments regarding the costs to the U.S. economy resulting from intellectual property (IP) violations and the threats to public health and safety created by the infringement-as well as recommendations for improving the government's IP enforcement efforts.

How do counterfeit medicines fit into this conversation? It's simple. Counterfeit versions of protected pharmaceuticals defraud consumers and deny patients the therapies that can alleviate suffering. In too many cases, we've seen counterfeit drugs cause great harm-and even death-to those who take them.

In addition to reiterating recommendations we've made to protect consumers from counterfeit drugs on the Internet, we urged IPEC coordination with law enforcement, as well as funding and authority for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop programs to tighten the drug supply chain. This includes more FDA onshore agency support and authority. Disturbingly, the U.S. currently has 300 custom ports and the FDA only has 200 port inspectors-and a mere 17 inspectors to cover all international mail centers.

As we said in our recommendations, collaboration with IPEC to coordinate and implement policies is not only wanted, but certainly needed. While the Web and social media platforms have changed the way the pharmaceuticals industry interacts with American consumers, it has also created new threats by way of unlicensed pharmacies, SPAM and sellers of counterfeit and substandard drugs. It's going to take all of us working together to mitigate this threat here at home and abroad.

See the PSM's full response to IPEC's call for public comments regarding the Joint Strategic Plan.
Top News

US: Officials Investigate Man Accused of Selling Counterfeit Diabetes Products


Federal prosecutors are currently investigating a Floridian man who has been accused of selling counterfeit and potentially deadly diabetes-care products. The fakes, counterfeit versions of legitimate products made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), were obtained from a Chinese supplier by Jacques Duplessis of Boynton Beach, Florida. Duplessis then distributed the counterfeits to pharmacies within the U.S., leading J&J to file a lawsuit against him. Duplessis said in a court document responding to J&J's lawsuit that he was deceived by his supplier and couldn't have reasonably known the products were counterfeit. The case shows how manufacturers of prescription drugs as well as government authorities are stepping up their fight against counterfeit or stolen products, which they see as a rising public-health threat. ("US Investigates Florida Man On Fake J&J Diabetes-Care Products," Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2010; Story here)

World News

Hong Kong: Counterfeit Lifestyle Drug Sales Booming


According to a senior customs official, Counterfeit lifestyle drugs geared toward male performance issues now account for 80 percent of all the fake drugs seized in Hong Kong. These drugs are being counterfeited in massive quantities, contributing to a 50 percent surge in the amount of counterfeit drugs seized in the city. The volume of counterfeits confiscated surged from 6,282 pills in 2007 to 9,311 last year. Additionally, many fake anti-depressant and slimming drugs have been found to be bulked up with starch, flour, or other unapproved ingredients. ("Trade in Counterfeit [Lifestyle Drugs] Booms in Hong Kong," Earth Times, April 5, 2010; Story here)



UAE: Pharmacy Shut Down for Selling Counterfeit Drugs


A pharmacy that sold counterfeit drugs has been temporarily shut down according to the  Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD). HAAD recently announced the results of their recent inspection which also resulted in revoking the licenses of the pharmacist and pharmacy assistant for selling the potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Officials also ordered the destruction of all the stock in another pharmacy because it was not storing its drugs properly. The pharmacy had not been paying its electricity bills and its power had been shut off several times, violating standards for medicine storage. ("Pharmacy Shut Down for Fake Medicines," The National, April 4, 2010; Story here)

About the Partnership for Safe Medicines
The Partnership for Safe Medicines is a group of organizations and individuals that have policies, procedures, or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines. For more information, please visit