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Articles from July 2009

Government warns against buying swine flu drugs from the internet

 After the fourth death in UK as chief medical officer Professor Sir Liam Donaldson says Britain has enough Tamiflu and online pills may be counterfeit.

He has warned the public against panic-buying swine flu drugs online after it was revealed that the number of new cases of the virus could reach 100,000 per day. “People shouldn’t buy Tamiflu from the internet,” he said. “We have got a massive stockpile in this country, and everybody can have access to it through the NHS”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s director of policy, David Pruce, stated most Tamiflu for sale online was likely counterfeit because no legitimate online pharmacy would sell it. “These sites could be based anywhere in the world,” he proclaimed on  BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “They could be selling anything from sugar to rat poison”, as mentioned in the recent Pfizer report. To read the full story Click Here (The Guardian, 3 July 2009)

New drug ingredients to fight counterfeiting

Just as the U.S. Mint redesigned currency to foil counterfeiters, the FDA is advising drugmakers on how best to redesign their pills. The agency issued draft guidance (available here) on special ingredients that would make it easier to authenticate tablets and capsules.

The guidance is a response to the industry’s casting about for anti-counterfeiting strategies. The physical-chemical identifiers (PCIDs) under discussion are substances that either via flavour, pigment or molecular tag can brand a product as legit. The FDA said it anticipates that many of the potential PCIDs are already in use as food additives, or that they are other types of inactive ingredients with established safety profiles. To read the full story Click Here (Fierce Pharma, 13 July 2009)

Fake Drugs Gang Jailed

Businessmen who tried to sell counterfeit drugs on an “industrial” scale have received jail sentences totalling more than 17 years. More than £3 million worth of goods and assets has been ordered to be recovered from the seven members of the gang. They were part of a global ring based in China, India and Pakistan and also operating in the Caribbean and the USA, investigators said.

The gang sought to sell millions of pounds worth of fake Viagra, Cialis and the hair restoration drug Propecia. The stiffest sentence was handed out to a Leicester salesman Gary Haywood, who was convicted on 11 counts in April, jailed for six years and ordered to pay more than £500,000 or face a further period in prison.  To read the full story Click Here (Staff Nurse, 13 July 2009)

Poles spend around zl.100 million on fake drugs, says WHO

Over recent years a great number of fake products have started seeping into the Polish market as in other eauropean countries. According the World Health Organization, quoted by daily Dziennik, Poles spend as much as zl.100 million (23 million Euros) on counterfeit medicines each year. The kinds of drugs that are most often copied are impotence medicines, anabolic supplements, diet pills, and psychoactive drugs.


Despite the fact that many of the “fillers” in these drugs are safe placebos, inducing sugar, there are also some which contain chemicals such as anti-freeze solutions and wood polish among their ingredients.To read the full story Click Here (Warsaw Business Journal, 13 July 2009).

Give info on counterfeit drugs, get rewarded

In a bold attempt to tackle the menace of counterfeit life-saving medicines, the Indian health ministry has proposed a “whistle blower” policy that will handsomely reward both the public and officials who inform and therfore help seize spurious, adulterated and misbranded medicines, cosmetics and medical devices.

According to the policy, the reward will be a maximum of 20% of the total cost of the consignments seized will be payable to the informer (should not exceed Rs 25 lakh in each case). In respect to an officer in the government/Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), the reward will not exceed Rs 5 lakh for one case and a maximum of Rs 30 lakh in their entire service.

Under the proposal, the reward will be given only when there confirmation of the seizure of spurious drugs, cosmetics and medical devices by the designated officers of CDSCO. According to health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, since spurious drugs affect the health of citizens as well as the prestige of the country’s pharmaceutical trade interests, there will be a sense of urgency in taking on the menace on priority basis. To read the full story Click Here  The Times of India, 23 July 2009).