The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateOctober 18, 2010
In This Issue
Top News
World News
Article Headline
Quick Links
More About Us
Join Our Mailing List
Follow us on Twitter

Partnership for Safe Medicines Commends Successful Global Operation Targeting Online Fake Drug Sellers

Washington, D.C. (October 14, 2010) - The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), the leading public health group representing more than 60 non-profits in the fight against counterfeit drugs, today applauded a multi-national effort that resulted in 76 people being arrested or placed under investigation for selling counterfeit drugs online. Operation Pangea III was coordinated by INTERPOL with the close coordination of police, customs authorities and drug regulators from forty-five countries, as well as security directors from the drug manufacturers.
"This is, by far, the best example of joint partnerships that I've seen in recent years, and underscores what PSM has long believed - that global cooperation and coordination is essential to the successful disruption of transnational criminal groups who aim to harm patients in order to make a profit from counterfeit drugs," said Tom Kubic, member of the PSM Board of Directors and President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute.

Counterfeit drugs pose a serious health threat to consumers, whether they are sick or well.  Fake drugs can contain a lower dosage of the effective ingredient, harmful ingredients or ingredients that negatively interact with other medicines the consumer is taking. As a result, not only are patients ingesting something that can cause harm, but they are not getting the medicine they need to keep them healthy. 

In conjunction with Operation Pangea III, INTERPOL also launched a consumer outreach campaign to build awareness of the dangers of buying medicines online using a series of web videos of individuals sharing their personal accounts of the harm caused by counterfeit drugs purchased online.

"On behalf of PSM's member organizations, I congratulate those who made Operation Pangea III such a success and thank them for their efforts to keep medicines and consumers safe," continued Kubic. "Counterfeit drugs are a global health problem, and require a cooperative global health solution. Partnerships between law enforcement and education can have a real impact on keeping patients safe."
Top News


Global Arrests For Drug Counterfeiters in INTERPOL Sweep

Lyon, France - INTERPOL has announced that 45 countries took part in a week of sweeps targeting the sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines over the internet. 76 criminals were arrested around the globe and 11,000 packages of fake drugs were impounded by regulators and customs officials. In total 290 online pharmacies selling fake and illegal drugs were shut down. Operation Pangea III, the largest Internet-based action supporting the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT), focused on websites supplying illegal and dangerous medicines. INTERPOL worked with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (HMA WGEO), and the pharmaceutical and electronic payments industries. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, October 14, 2010; Link here)


As part of the INTERPOL's public alert service, it has posted a series of "Don't Be Your Own Killer" videos on YouTube advertising the dangers of illegal Internet pharmacies. Click here to view the videos.

World News

North Carolina: Online Pharmacy Patrons Threatened with Extortion


A North Carolina sheriff is warning residents of a phone scam being perpetrated by people claiming to be Drug Enforcement Administration agents, targeting people who have used online pharmacies. Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck said the caller tells the victim that such purchases are illegal, and now they must pay a fine. In most cases, the caller says the victim must wire the money, according to WITN, an NBC affiliate. Buck said that the DEA will never call anyone and demand money. Law enforcement representatives at the recent Safe Medicines Interchange mentioned that this scam has been perpetuated since 2008. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, October 15, 2010; Link here)



Sri Lanka: U.S. Embassy Funds Campaign to Combat Counterfeit Drugs

Oct 15, Colombo: The United States Embassy in Colombo together with the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI), the National Intellectual Property Office and the American Chamber of Commerce, will be hosting a series of seminars across the country to show how pharmacists, doctors, and government officials can work together to protect Sri Lankan families against the dangers of counterfeit drugs, a press release issued today by the Embassy said. The first of the seminar series will be held on October 17 in Colombo with the participation of Sri Lanka's Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena and U.S. Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis. (The Colombo Page, October 15; 2010; Story here)


PSM Interchange

If you missed our recent conference, you can catch videotaped versions on C-SPAN, read the remarks of our keynote speaker, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and view photos from our flickr archive. Visit our archives here.

Building Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Programs (Los Angeles, CA)


When: Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010

Where: University of Southern California (map)

Description: A one day course from the USC Regulatory Science Program and the Food and Drug Law Institute. For more information or to register see the USC page



International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (Singapore)


When: Tuesday, Nov 30, 2010

Where: Singapore (map)

Description: Website

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