In a press release
last week, PhRMA President and CEO John Castellani commended sponsors of a bill in Congress that would increase jail sentences for criminals caught selling counterfeit medicines. Biopharmaceutical research companies believe that the introduction of this legislation is a step in the right direction due to the tremendous harm that counterfeit medicines
pose to patients battling diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Today, the White House
announced a public awareness campaign that would also help crack down on counterfeit crimes, and are timing it around the holiday season when shoppers often look online for bargains. The White House highlighted on its blog that the campaign will include a television PSA, materials delivered through social media, and radio, web and print ads so that consumers fully understand the safety risks associated with counterfeiting, including the sale of "fake pharmaceuticals laced with potentially dangerous substances".
I can relate to most people in that I often go online - especially during the holidays - and do some comparison shopping to find the best price for the product I would like to purchase. Since I've been working on the issue of counterfeiting for many years, I know what to look for on a webpage to determine whether it is legitimate or not. I can tell you that when it comes to Internet pharmacy sites, it is recommended that consumers look for a VIPPS seal
on the bottom of the site - this means that the site is approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and compliant with state and federal laws and regulations.
What might seem like a "good deal" on an Internet pharmacy site is often a ploy by criminal networks to lure unsuspecting consumers into buying counterfeit medicines. For this reason, I urge patients to be particularly vigilant this holiday season when purchasing medicines online.