Partnership for Safe Medicines Executive Director Speaks at Brazil Counterfeit Drug Forum

Washington, D.C. (October 17, 2011) – Addressing the growing public health crisis posed by counterfeit medicines in Brazil requires the coordinated effort of all stakeholders across the country, said Partnership for Safe Medicines Executive Director Scott LaGanga during a forum today in Rio de Janeiro on counterfeit medicines hosted by Interfarma and Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

“One of the biggest hurdles of addressing the public health risk of counterfeit medicines is raising awareness of the breadth and depth of the problem,” said LaGanga. “This is why it is so important that all countries, including Brazil, take action and join forces to protect citizens worldwide. On behalf of PSM, I am pleased to be part of this effort and look forward to identifying ways that PSM can help its Brazilian counterparts keep medicines safe for consumers.”

Brazil has the second-highest number of incidences of counterfeit medicines in Latin America, according to the most recent data from the Pharmaceutical Security Institute. Latin America ranks second globally in number of counterfeit incidences.

Additionally, a poll released today at the forum by IBOPE, the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, found that more than half of Brazilians ignore the security seal on prescribed and over-the- counter medicines. This data highlights why counterfeit medicines are proliferating in Brazil and underscore the need for action.

Brazilian Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo delivered keynote remarks and called the counterfeit medicine issue, “one of the most important to Brazilian society.” Other speakers included Edson Vismona, President of the Brazilian National Forum Against Piracy (FNCP), Dirceu Barbano, President of ANVISA, Humberto Costa, Brazil House Representative, and Paulo Abrão Pires Junior, president of the National Council to Combat Piracy and Crimes Against Intellectual Property.

“Today’s forum is a strong indication of the level of dedication in Brazil to finding ways to battle the growth of counterfeit medicines in the country, and I commend them for this effort,” continued LaGanga. “We must all continue to fight to ensure patients around the world have access to safe and effective medicines.”