Counterfeit clippings: global news round-up

NewsprintHungary implements new law with stiffer penalties for illegal drug peddlers, plus updates from Georgia, UAE, Fiji, Uganda, Nigeria, and the USA.

A new law in Hungary that came into effect on March 1 will boost the penalties for unlicensed producers or traders in medicines, according to an article in the Budapest Business Journal. The new law, detailed by anti-counterfeiting group HENT, allows fines to be levied of up to HUF 100,000 and the seizure of counterfeit, unlicensed or otherwise illegal medicines. Tougher penalties will also be applicable for people found guilty of possession of illegal medicines.

Hefty mark-ups on the price of imported medicines in Georgia is putting critical drugs beyond the reach of many patients in the country, and potentially encouraging the trade in counterfeit medicines, reports local newspaper The Financial.

Counterfeit medicines have been discovered in four supermarkets in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Gulf News newspaper. The Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (Haad) discovered the activity after sending an official posing as a member of the public to purchase packs of the erectile dysfunction medicine Viagra (sildenafil), which on testing proved to be fake. The supermarkets have escaped closure because they are not considered health facilities.

Fiji's population is at risk of exposure to substandard and counterfeit medicine imports because of the absence of legislation and a regulatory authority, according to a Radio Fiji report. The Fiji Pharmaceutical Society suggests many pharmacists rely on post-market experience to detect quality issues with medicines, says the report, which notes new legislation is currently being discussed in government.

The government of Uganda is currently considering a draft bill that will implement hefty penalties for people convicted of producing, selling and distributing counterfeit products, including jail terms from five to 20 years, reports New Vision. The bill also aims to extend the remit of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) beyond its current focus on substandard goods to include counterfeits. Uganda has a major problem with counterfeit medicines and foods, says the article.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria has issued an alert after encountering counterfeit versions of the antimalarial medicines Amalar (pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine) and artesunate, reports PM News. The fakes were discovered during field testing by operatives using Thermo Fisher Scientific's TruScan analyser.

Customs officers in the USA seized more than 20,000 counterfeit erectile dysfunction tablets concealed in a shipment purporting to contain dry fruit, according to a Fox News report. Fake versions of Pfizer's Viagra (sildenafil), Lilly's Cialis (tadalafil) and GlaxoSmithKline/Bayer's Levitra (vardenafil) were among the haul, which was intercepted at JFK International airport in New York. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials estimated the value of the pills at more than $220,000.

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