Washington, D.C. (June 22, 2010) – Scott LaGanga, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, released the following statement regarding today's rollout of a joint strategic plan by the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) that includes provisions to address counterfeit prescription drugs:
"The report released today is both a step forward and a reminder of the need for public and private sector leaders to work together to combat the worldwide counterfeit drug epidemic. For all the valued access the Internet provides, it is also a place where dangerous, criminal and life-threatening activity is permitted. For this reason, the IPEC report couldn't be more timely.
"As the Administration notes, approximately 8 percent of the bulk drugs imported into the U.S. are counterfeit, unapproved, or substandard, and 10 percent of global pharmaceutical commerce, or $21 billion, involves counterfeit drugs. In 2008, 34 million counterfeit drugs were seized by European Union officials in just two months.
"Regulation of counterfeit drugs sold online must span numerous channels, including social media. Platforms like Facebook must ensure vague advertising guidelines are replaced with concrete policies that keep out untrustworthy drug retailers – a policy that should be replicated by search engines where misleading advertisements often infiltrate top-tier result pages. Micro blogging outlets like Twitter should employ the 'verification' seal of approval used for celebrities and public figures to serve as a stamp of credibility for outlets selling medication.
"The Partnership for Safe Medicines commends the efforts of the Administration to include online pharmacies in IPEC's latest plan, as well as tactical approaches like the establishment of a Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Interagency Committee and increased enforcement activities on the part of government officials. Collaboration with IPEC to coordinate and implement proposed policies is not only wanted but needed. We look forward to stepping to the plate to do our part to change this dangerous counterfeit culture."
Comprised of more than 60 non-profit organizations, the Partnership for Safe Medicines is a
public health group committed to the safety of prescription drugs and protecting consumers against counterfeit, substandard or otherwise unsafe medicines.
- Key excerpts from video of press briefing
- The Main White House Page Announcing Intellectual Property Enforcement Plan
- Full video of White House Intellectual Property Announcement
- The Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property (PDF)
- Transcript of Vice President Biden's Announcement of Intellectual Property Enforcement Plan