The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateDecember 6, 2010
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 How to Protect Yourself from Fake Drugs  


Consumers can protect themselves from fake drugs by following some simple steps to insure their prescriptions come from reliable pharmacies including verifying their pharmacy's legitmacy, submitting a doctor's prescription and being aware of practices that may signify frauds.


According to AOL Money & Finance's Daily Finance report, consumers need to educate themselves about the characteristics of fake drugs, including their similarity to authentic prescription medication.  Counterfeits can be blank pills that fail to treat a condition, can have inaccurate doses of active ingredients, or have additional unprescribed ingredients or banned substances.  Not only will these cause failure in treatment, they might also be dangerous and lethal. 

In recent years, the FDA says that there has been growing evidence of drug counterfeiting around the world backed by organized crime syndicates using the internet for propagation.


Daily Finance reported that the world's largest drugmaker, Pfizer, has documented counterfeit versions of 40 products in 92 countries, including 21 fake medications within the legitmate supply chain of 46 countries, including the U.S. 


According to the World Health Organization, Internet pharmacies that hide their physical address from the public will deliver counterfeits more than 50% of the time. 


Daily Finance suggests the following practices to verify the legitimacy of medications when purchasing online:


1) Start with a trusted source verified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacies.


2) Use one that demands a prescription, provides a physical address and contact information for a pharmacist. 

Daily Finance also suggests being alert to enticement practices:


1) Advertisements that offer "doctor consultation" or don't require a prescription.

2) Sites that sell by the pill, which is illegal in the U.S.

3) Sites that offer bonus pills with an order.

4) Sites that provide no physical address.

4) Sites that are found on the VIPPS not recommended list.

5) Sites that offer non-FDA approved drugs.


Enticement offers are very good signs that something may not be legitmate with consumers' choice of Internet pharmacy and they should be alert to possible fraud or fake drugs.
Top News

Bargain Drugs Can Be Fake Drugs


WSBTV, Channel 2, an Atlanta, Georgia, television station found that bargain drugs ordered online, supposedly from Canada, are often bogus and manufactured in China or South America. Consumer investigator Jim Strickland traveled to Monteria, Colombia and followed federal police in a pharmacy raid. As part of WSBTV's report, they ordered erectile dysfunction drugs from a website called "Official Canadian Pharmacy." The pills ordered from the supposedly-Canadian website, which was registered in the Russian Federation, arrived from Hong Kong, with a false customs statement declaring that the contents were a gift of a battery charger. The blister pack of pills looked identical to true ED medication, however the packaging was pierced, and testing showed they contained 40% of the active ingredient. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, December 3, 2010; Link here)

World News

Philippine NBI Seizes Millions in Fake Drugs


The National Bureau of Investigation of the Philippines seized more than P25 million worth of fake drugs allegedy imported form India, Pakistan and Singapore and arrested a person involved in the distribution and sales of the confiscated medications. Agent Terrence Agustin, of the NBI Intellectual Property Rights Division (IPRD) informed reporters that Renante Dumasig, 35, of Paranaque City, was arrested after confiscating anti-convulsants, antibiotics, anesthetics, diuretics and antihypertensive medications that were unregistered and with inappropriate labeling, reported the Philippine Star. Agustin said Dumasig operated a legal business, but he also allegedly "included the counterfeit drugs in his operation." (Partnership for Safe Medicines, December 3, 2010; Link here)



Argentina: Federal Agents Investigate Fake Drug Crime Ring


In Argentina, 40 raids were conducted as part of continuing investigations into counterfeit and illegal drug distribution by organized crime. Argentinian federal authorities are working on the most recent chapter of a two year investigation of counterfeit drug purveyors throughout the workers' unions within Argentina that involve extensive use of expired drugs, counterfeiting and murder. Federal Judge Norberto Oyarbide ordered raids which were executed by the Technical Research Division of Federal Investigations in various neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, including Capital Federal, Avellaneda, San Justo and other interior locations, according to the Argentinian news organization, Momento 24. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, December 1, 2010; Link here)



China: Officials Crack Down on Counterfeit Drugs


China's Commerce Department announced an increase in enforcement over counterfeit products in China, including medicines, said Jiang Zengwei at a news conference, as he promised closer cooperation with the United States, Japan and Europe.  According to the Associated Press reporting in the Washington Post, trade groups say Chinese goods piracy is growing despite repeated attempts to stamp it out with increased penalties and crackdowns. American officials say phony Chinese-made heart and anti-cancer medications have been found "as far away as Africa," reports the Washington Post. The latest six-month campaign will target phony and falsely labeled goods including medicine, software, and organic corn. (Partnership for Safe Medicines, December 1, 2010; Link here)

ExL Pharma's Life Sciences Serialization & Traceability For Brand Management

When: Jan 24 - 25 2011

Where: Philadelphia, PA

Description: A summit with the key-stakeholders from the pharmaceutical supply chain to discuss a strategy for addressing three different, yet intertwined, areas - counterfeiting, brand protection and regulatory compliance. With international requirements already in place in countries like Turkey and France and potential federal mandates on the horizon here in the U.S., development of a mandatory compliant (fully serialized and pedigree-ready) supply chain is on the radar. View the full conference program.

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