The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateSeptember 20, 2010
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FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg to Keynote Partnership for Safe Medicines Inaugural Counterfeit Drug Conference

Speaker Lineup Includes Counterfeit Drug Victims, Journalists and Law Enforcement Officials

Washington, D.C. (September 9, 2010) - The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) today announced that Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, will be the keynote speaker at its inaugural Interchange conference to be held October 8th at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"Dr. Hamburg brings a tremendous amount of experience and insight to this issue and we are thrilled to have her join us for this important discussion," said Scott LaGanga, executive director of PSM. "It's clear we have a near-term opportunity to advance meaningful solutions that address the counterfeit drug trade head on."

Dr. Hamburg, who became the 21st FDA Commissioner on May 18, 2009, is only the second woman in history to serve in the position.

PSM also announced the addition of Dr. Michael Green, researcher at the Center for Disease Control, Division of Parasitic Diseases, and Bejon Misra, Founder of PSM India. Dr. Green's areas of interest include anti malarial drug analysis for pharmacokinetic and drug quality studies and developing simple inexpensive field tests to assess drug quality of pharmaceuticals.

Other panelists announced today include John Gray, President and CEO of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association, Rick Roberts, a counterfeit drug victim, Nancy Kennedy, senior operations manager for the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, pharmaceutical abuse investigator Charlie Cichon and journalist Walt Bogdanich from the New York Times will be panelists at the Interchange. Panels will be moderated by PSM Board Members Marv Shepherd, Bryan Liang and Thomas Kubic.

For more information, a current agenda and registration forms for the Interchange, please visit:

Top News

Counterfeit Drug Infiltration of the Legitimate Supply Chain

In a recent investigation, Dan Rather examined the fake prescription medication market and attempts of counterfeiters to infiltrate the US market. Dan Rather spoke to Andre Watson, US special agent in charge of immigration and customs enforcement regarding a counterfeit medicine smuggler named Mr. Xu who had access to extensive manufacturing and distribution capabilities in China to produce fake, chemically inaccurate version of influenza vaccines, prostate cancer treatment, blood thinners, Alzheimer's medication and other vital drugs. After six years of selling fake medications wholesale inside legitimate pharmacies in Europe, he began selling them in the U.S. Finally, U.S. Agents infiltrated Mr. Xu's large-scale phony drug production line, which could produce 200,000 boxes of counterfeit drugs in a week. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, September 15, 2010; Link here)

Click here for the full transcript. The complete episode can be purchased here.

Growing Problem of Counterfeit Drugs is Hurting Patients, Companies

According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), nearly 1,700 incidents of counterfeit drugs were reported worldwide last year which is triple the number from 2004. Moreover, estimates for the size of the counterfeit drug market range from $75 billion to $200 billion a year although the market is likely much bigger because many cases are hard to detect. A weak economy along with rising drug prices can lead to consumers seeking out cheaper products online or from unauthorized providers, says Bryan Liang, a board member at the Partnership for Safe Medicines. Counterfeiters are now able to create such convincing fake drugs, even experts find it hard to distinguish the copies from the real deal. Tom Kubic, CEO of PSI points out that "You can make more money in counterfeit drugs than heroin. There's a major financial incentive for criminals because of the low risk of detection and prosecution." ("Growing Problem of Fake Drugs Hurting Patients, Companies," USA Today, September 12, 2010; Story here)

World News

Russia: Government Adopts New Rules for Destruction of Counterfeit Drugs

Russia recently adopted new guidelines for the destruction of counterfeit drugs as well as for medications that are substandard. The new law, which was passed on September 3, will require that the destruction of all fake drugs be handled by organizations that are licensed for the collection, transportation and disposal of grade I-IV waste, according to The legislation also recommends that such organizations should have access to specialized facilities where the counterfeit drugs can be disposed of with the proper equipment. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, September 16, 2010; Link here)

Israel: Lifestyle Drugs are the Most Prevalent Counterfeits

Knowingly or unknowingly, It is estimated that 1 out of every 100 Israelis buys counterfeit drugs at one time. The most widely sold counterfeit drug in Israel is a counterfeit version a lifestyle drug produced by drug manufacturer Pfizer. According to the company, between 2007 and 2009, Israeli authorities reported that they had 438,410 pills identified by Pfizer as counterfeit versions of their drug and this was only based on reported cases. Recent media reports point to seizures of a wide variety of counterfeit drugs including those to treat malaria, tuberculosis, and anxiety, as well diet drugs and antibiotics. ("Fake [Lifestyle Drugs] Most Prevalent Counterfeit Drug in Israel," Globes, September 15, 2010; Story here)


PSM's Inaugural 2010 Interchange

When: Friday, Oct 8, 2010
Where: Washington, D.C

PSM InterchangeThe 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.
Register Now
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