Pfizer Shifts Approach on Fighting Counterfeit Drugs

In the past five years many unscrupulous individuals have tried to cash in on the market by producing counterfeit drugs.

One convicted counterfeiter is Martin Hickman, who made millions of dollars by sellingknockoffs of Pfizer’s popular impotence drug, Viagra, on more than 150 websites, according to Business Week. The drug maker eventually caught Hickman and the counterfeiter was convicted of various civil and criminal offenses, and was forced to surrender much of his ill-gotten money.

“The point is to make them realize that there’s no sense from a business perspective in counterfeiting our products, because if we find you, we’re taking your money away,” John P. Clark, a former U.S. law enforcement veteran who now works as Pfizer’s chief security officer, told the news source.

The case of Hickman illustrates the drug company’s philosophical shift in fighting those who sell knockoffs of its pills. Instead of waiting for local law enforcement to handle the situation, the company is being more proactive, resulting in less lost income to counterfeiting.

“As long as there are people in the world who think they can make money by putting other people’s lives at risk, this is a clear and present danger,” Jeff Kindler, Pfizer’s chief executive officer, recently said at a briefing on counterfeit drugs in Singapore.