Counterfeit clippings: global news round-up10-Jul-2012
Our round-up of counterfeit
developments from around the world includes news of Russian police
cracking a $15m counterfeit cancer drug ring, plus updates from the
USA, China and Tanzania.
Police in Russia have broken up a criminal organisation thought to have sold 500m roubles ($15m) worth of counterfeit and expired cancer medicines to pharmacies and hospitals across the country. Two gang members have been arrested and face up to 10 years in jail if convicted, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. The gang reportedly imported expired medicines from Ukraine, re-packed them and then sold them on, and also manufactured their own counterfeits, according to police. They sold the drugs on at prices ranging from $150 to $615 per ampoule, says the news agency.
Meanwhile, re-interpretation of Russia's Criminal Code could leave producers and distributors of counterfeit medicines open to charges of attempted murder, according to an article published by the Russian legal information agency RAPSI. The newswire notes that the country's Economic Security and Anti-Corruption Committee head, Irina Yarovaya, is recommending that the panel re-categorise the offense.
In the USA, the Bulk Pharmaceuticals Task Force (BPTF) has hailed the passage of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act as a "turning point in the fight to eliminate contaminated or counterfeit drug products from consumer shelves". The trade group - part of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) - said that "for too long, the US drug supply has been susceptible to sub-par quality drugs due to the lack of FDA enforcement of basic drug quality inspections of foreign facilities". FDASIA will provide increased resources to the FDA to conduct more inspections of foreign drug ingredient manufacturers, it said.
Illegal pharmacologically-active compounds have been identified in a series of healthcare products including various weight-loss products in China, according to the Xinhua news agency, citing the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). The announcement notes that various pharmaceuticals have been detected in the products, which are sold as dietary supplements/health foods. Compounds identified by the SFDA include sibutramine, phenolphthalein and estazolam. The agency said the illegal products were detected through random sampling conducted in drug stores nationwide.
Tanzania is now using 11 minilab kits provided by the Global Pharma Health Fund to try to prevent counterfeit and substandard drugs entering the country, according to local newspaper The Citizen. The kits are a critical tool in the fight against the trade as the Tanzanian Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) is operating on a "shoestring budget" and the problem is "exacerbated by homegrown corruption networks", according to the article.
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