Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2012) — Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO John J. Castellani issued the following statement today:
"As we recognize World Anti-Counterfeiting Day today, we must remember all that is at stake if we do not continue to crack down on life-threatening counterfeit medicine crimes. Make no mistake, the counterfeit medicine epidemic is a very real threat that puts millions of patients’ lives at risk. Fortunately, in the U.S., our lines of defense are strong because the closed and carefully regulated drug supply system represents an important protection for the American public against the massive influx of foreign counterfeit medicines.
"However, sometimes our best defenses are not enough, as we have seen with the recent Food and Drug Administration announcement that counterfeit generic attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs and some cancer treatments were purportedly purchased on Internet pharmacy sites. The reality is that law enforcement officials are increasingly facing an uphill battle as more and more criminals are using the Internet to peddle their fake products to unsuspecting American consumers who are looking for a deal or trying to obtain medicines without a doctor’s prescription.
“Criminals convicted of such illicit activity in the U.S. only face, on average, three years in prison. The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act, which was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, will bolster criminal sentencing guidelines so that criminals caught selling counterfeit medicine face as much as 20 years imprisonment.
"A secure drug supply chain should be of paramount concern to policymakers and the public. Cargo and warehouse thefts of medical products are considered a severe breach in the secure supply chain that could lead to dangerous health consequences to patients. Another piece of legislation just passed out of the House Judiciary Committee is the SAFE Doses Act, which will help crack down on such thefts and importantly, punish those who attempt to introduce diverted and counterfeit medicines into the legitimate supply chain.
"Now, more than ever, public and private partners -- U.S. law enforcement, government agencies and industry -- must continue to work together to combat these dangerous counterfeiting crimes. Just as the G8 recently issued a declaration recognizing the threat of the growing counterfeit medicine trade, U.S. policymakers must focus on ways we can continue to protect our closed supply chain and prevent counterfeit medicines from harming American patients."
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.5 billion in 2011 in discovering and developing new medicines.
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