Counterfeit clippings: news in brief

News clippingsCounterfeiting updates from the pharmaceutical, consumer health,  electronics, beverage and gas sectors.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has been denied involvement in an ongoing lawsuit in Maine, US, which is trying to repeal a law that allows state residents to buy medicines from other countries such as Canada, reports Pharmalot. The drug industry organisation has been using the lawsuit as a platform to warn of the dangers of allowing people to import drugs from overseas, which it maintains raises the risk of exposure to falsified, expired or low quality medicines. The judge in the case has concluded however that PhRMA should be shut out from proceedings because it was unable to demonstrate how drugmakers could be harmed by the law. Responding to its exclusion, PhRMA associate general counsel John Murphy said the organisation "continues to believe that Maine's drug importation law conflicts with FDA’s authority to regulate prescription medication distribution in the US."

Counterfeit versions of Procter & Gamble's Always brand of sanitary towels have been discovered in the market in Guyana by the Food and Drug Department, according to local distributor ANSA McAL. The infringing products contain some form of gel, which is not present in the authentic brand and may be harmful, the company told Stabroek News. The counterfeits have been sent to P&G for analysis. ANSA McAL has also come across other counterfeit P&G brands in Guyana, including Ariel washing powder, Pringles snacks and energy drink Lucozade.

A Massachusetts distributor accused of supplying falsified integrated circuits to the US military, some of which found their way to the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut, pleaded guilty this week. 41-year-old Peter Picone admitted to four counts of trafficking and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5m under the charges, which were brought under new legislation introduced as part of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. Picone had fraudulently told his customers that the integrated circuits he supplied - which purported to be from the likes of Motorola, Xilinx and National Semiconductor - were new and sourced from Europe, while in reality they originated from China and had falsified pedigrees.

Customs officers and police in Ireland have uncovered a bottling operation for counterfeit vodka in County Louth that has been linked to the dissident Irish Republican Army (IRA). The enforcement officers seized more than 110,000 fake bottle caps, 400,000 labels and 500 cardboard cases for premium vodka brands including Diageo's Smirnoff, Stolichnaya and Glen's in the raid, which was reported by the Irish Independent.  The newspaper suggests that the IRA run a scam across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that involves collecting used bottles from bars and pubs and introducing the falsified product - known locally as 'provo' - back into the supply chain for sale in Ireland and the UK.

Staying in Ireland, it seems criminals have started branching put into the supply of illegal bottled gas which pose a ranger to both retailers and buyers, according to the Irish Examiner. Gangs are copying the logos of major gas suppliers and supplying cylinders at a discount to "rogue garages and other stores," says the article. Detective Superintendent George Kyne, speaking at the launch of Interpol’s Turn Back Crime Initiative this week, told the paper that the quality of the gas, the cylinders and the filling process is unknown so the fakes are potentially very dangerous.

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