The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateJune 1, 2010
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The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) Counterfeits Dialogue Breakfast

This Friday, June 4, the PSM will work in concert with the Irish Patients' Association to present a counterfeits dialogue breakfast at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.

We  are honored to be joined by Mary Haney, Ireland's Minister of Health and Children, to discuss threats to patient safety caused by unsafe medicines, and  how to work collaboratively with healthcare practitioners and distributors of medicines to raise awareness of counterfeit and unsafe medicines around the globe. PSM Executive Director Scott LaGanga will also be on hand to present at the event.

More soon from Dublin.

Top News

Herbal Supplements Often Contaminated, Study Says


The New York Times reports that of all of the herbal dietary supplements recently tested as part of a Congressional investigation, most contained some amounts of contaminants, including the dangerous toxic metal, lead. Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the principal deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said in an interview that he was not concerned about the supplements the GAO tested, but did discuss how the FDA just announced a recall of Vita Breath, a dietary supplement that may contain hazardous levels of lead. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene notified the FDA about a patient with lead poisoning who reported taking Vita Breath and two other herbal products. The department analyzed a sample of Vita Breath and reported that it contained 1,100 parts per million of lead, which is more than 10,000 times higher than FDA's maximum recommended level for lead in candy. ("Study Finds Herbal Supplements Often Tainted," News Inferno, May 26, 2010; Story here)

World News

United States: Generics Manufacturer Faces Scrutiny for Contaminated Pills


Perrigo Co., the world's largest maker of non-prescription, store-branded drugs, was forced to pull contaminated ibuprofen tablets released by its Allegan, Michigan, plant. Perrigo failed to protect consumers from ibuprofen tablets contaminated with metal shavings, U.S. regulators said. The company had not thoroughly investigated why some tablets were the wrong size and did not inspect packaging equipment between batches, the agency said. The warning follows Perrigo's 2006 recall of 11 million bottles of acetaminophen pills containing pieces of wire as long as 8 millimeters (0.32 inches). The FDA ordered the company to fix its quality-control issues or face product seizure, injunction or a ban on exports or new product approvals. ("Perrigo Plant Released Drugs Contaminated With Metal," Business Week, May 25, 2010; Story here)



India: Counterfeit Drugs Common in Chennai and other Cities


At least five percent of drugs sold by Chennai pharmacies are substandard, a new study released by the International Policy Network (IPN) has claimed. London-based scientists from the IPN and researchers from Delhi's Liberty Institute conducted tests on five groups of commonly prescribed 'essential' drugs collected from pharmacies in Chennai and Delhi. The study found that around 38 percent of chemists in Chennai and 80 percent of Delhi's medical shops stock or sell substandard or counterfeit drugs. ("City Sold on Fake Drugs: Study," Deccan Chronicle, May 21, 2010; Story here)



Counterfeit Drugs Continue to Cause Problems Around the World


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to ten percent of globally traded drugs are counterfeit. In September 2009, a 29-year old University of Maryland pharmacologist died following an allergic reaction to a counterfeit version of a drug that was legal in the United States but had been purchased online from the Philippines. In 2007, the FDA examined nearly 4,000 packages at airports in New York, Miami and Los Angeles and found 85 percent of drugs ordered from what customers initially believed were Canadian pharmacies actually came from 27 other countries. A number of products were also counterfeit. In response, the Food and Drug Administration has opened offices in India and China in an attempt to monitor more closely the increasing numbers of pharmaceutical manufacturers in those countries. ("Counterfeit drugs are a global problem," Delmarva Health Source, May 25, 2010; Story here)


The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) Counterfeits Dialogue Breakfast

When: Friday, Jun 4, 2010

Where: Shelbourne Hotel Dublin Ireland

The PSM proudly presents this informative and educational breakfast with the Irish Patients' Association.

The Drug Information Association 46th Annual Meeting

When: Sunday, Jun 13, 2010

Where: Washington D.C.

Description: Link here


5th Global Pharma Manufacturing Summit

When: Monday, Jun 14, 2010

Where: Boston, MA

Description: Link here


Global Pharma Authentication

When: Monday, Jun 14, 2010

Where: Munich, Germany

Description: Link here


4th Annual Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Strategies Conference

When: Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010

Where: London, UK

Description: Link here

PSM's Inaugural 2010 Interchange
When: Friday, Oct 8, 2010
Where: Washington, D.C.
Description: The Partnership for Safe Medicines invites you to save the date for an intimate conference bringing together patient groups, providers, pharmaceutical company quality experts, enforcement personnel, policymakers, regulatory agency experts and other interested parties to discuss key issues around counterfeit drugs and other unsafe medicines. Link 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