Congress Proposes Increasing Penalties for Counterfeit Medicine Traffickers

US Congress proposed a Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act to increase penalties for trafficking of counterfeit drugs to reflect the severity of the crime and harm to the public on November 17, 2011.

The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, Representative Patrick Meehan of Pennyslvania and Representative Linda Sanchez of California, reports Securing Pharma.

The legislation would increase the maximum prison sentence for medicine counterfeiting to twenty years for first-time offenders, and increasing maximum fines to $4 million, with increasing fines of up to $8 million for repeat offenders. Businesses convicted of counterfeit medicine trafficking can received fines as high as $20 million for repeat offenses.

“While it is currently illegal to introduce counterfeit drugs into interstate commerce, the penalties are no different than those for the trafficking of other products, such as electronics or clothing,” said Senator Leahy.

“This legislation will raise those penalties to a level that meets the severity of the offense. Deterring this epidemic problem is a bipartisan effort.”

Current sentencing guidelines for counterfeit manufacturing and sales allow for punishment of 3 years, on average. The new legislation has been acclaimed as more appropriate for the seriousness of the crime.

By S. Imber