China Cracks Down on Counterfeit Drugs With the Help of the FDA
The internet is a wild west of unregulated pharmaceutical websites, but Chinese and US cooperation are working together to make the Internet safer for consumers.
China Daily reports that US Food and Drug Administration agents working in China collaborated with the China Food and Drug Administration to shutter 18 Chinese-language websites illegally offering counterfeit drugs and health food for sale in the United States.
The websites were aimed at Chinese-language speakers, and were designed to appeal to Chinese consumers, both in the United States and elsewhere. Some of the sites offered free counterfeit drugs with the purchase of health food items.
The FDA opened their overseas office in Beijing in 2008. It is one of several FDA offices set up outside the United States to assist in safeguarding US consumers. This is the first successful investigation of internet counterfeit drug sales by the FDA's China office.
While the 18 fake online pharmacies were taken down by Chinese authorities, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s China office maintains that it is likely the sites will reappear elsewhere, saying, "The problem is international and only through global cooperation can these websites be shut down and prevented from opening again.”
In other counterfeit drug news from China, China Daily reports that The China Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) has closed 6 drug factories in Anhui province for counterfeit drug production, and is investigating 12 more.
According to the China Daily "the companies were found to have dyed medicines with inedible pigment, added aluminous and magnesian salt to make them heavier, or used fake or less effective materials."
China's concerns about counterfeit drug makers has been demonstrated in both the crackdowns on counterfeiters and in the enthusiasm government, industry and patient groups in China had for meetings with The Partnership for Safe Medicine's Executive Director, Scott LaGanga, in August.
Said LaGanga in a recent blog post, "What I heard in the group meeting was extremely encouraging: hundreds of thousands of doctors are being trained about medicine safety; distributors are optimizing retail chains to ensure that counterfeits are stopped wherever possible; industry is providing education and resources to help inform consumers and protect legitimate medicines. And as I saw when I arrived, the government is doing their part as well. As counterfeiters get smarter and the market as a whole becomes more global, both the government and private sector leaders are stepping up to the plate."
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