Counterfeit clippings: global news round-up's round-up of pharmaceutical supply chain security news from the world's press features reports from Argentina, the USA, Nigeria, India and Pakistan.

A former police officer and medical staff are among six people arrested in Argentina following a series of raids by federal authorities investigating counterfeit, expired and adulterated medicine distribution by organised crime groups, according to an ABC article. 13 raids were carried out last month in hospitals, pharmacies and other facilities in the Buenos Aires area. Five of those arrested worked in the Posadas Hospital drug depository, while the sixth is a former policeman linked to trafficking of the drug precursor ephedrine. The wide ranging investigation is centring on the use of trade union healthcare networks as the point of entry of the illegal medicines into the supply chain.

A Belgian national, Manuel Calvelo, has pleaded guilty in the USA to charges relating to the operation of an illegal online pharmacy, which sold an estimated $1.4m-worth of misbranded and counterfeit medicines to the public, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office. The site offered more than 40 types of counterfeit drugs - including Viagra, Depakote, Glucophage, Zoloft, Lipitor, Cialis, Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin - between 2005 and 2008. Calvelo will be sentenced on May 3 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on a fraud charge and a maximum penalty of three years and a fine of up to $250,000 on a conspiracy charge. He has also agreed to pay $1.4m as part of a plea bargain. Calvelo's Canadian business associate, Jeffrey Westmoreland, is a fugitive.

The Director General of Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, says that the key to fighting medicines counterfeiting is to stimulate production of pharmaceuticals by domestic companies, according to a report on the WorldStage website. Self-reliance on medicines production is a matter of "national security," he said.

The authorities in India have arrested the owners of five outlets selling medicines on suspicion of distributing spurious versions of the Voveran (diclofenac) painkiller, reports the Times of India. Those accused allegedly purchased the fake tablets from a drug manufacturer in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh which did not have a license.

About 10 per cent of all medicines being sold at medical stores in Pakistan are counterfeit, sub-standard and misbranded pharmaceutical products, according to Abdul Baqi Khan, managing director of Merck & Co subsidiary Merck Pvt Ltd, in an article from Asia Pulse. Pakistan has appropriate laws to fight the trade but they are not being enforced effectively. Medicine inspectors need to earn better salaries and be incentivised to take action against the counterfeits, he said.

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