On January 19, 2012, AstraZeneca sent members of Congress a letter supporting legislation to increase penalties for counterfeit prescription drug crime.

The letters were sent to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Representative Patrick Meehan (R-PA), bill sponsors along with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT.).

counterfeit medicine legislation

On January 19, 2012, AstraZeneca sent members of Congress a letter supporting legislation to increase penalties for counterfeit prescription drug crime.

The letters were sent to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA), and Representative Patrick Meehan (R-PA), bill sponsors along with Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Senator Leahy’s blog reports that “The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act will increase penalties for the trafficking of counterfeit drugs to reflect the severity of the crime and the harm to the public. 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. The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act will target violators that knowingly manufacture, sell or traffic counterfeit medicines to the United States.”

Focusing on the threat of counterfeit medication coming from overseas via internet purchase, AstraZeneca’s letter said, “While the total incidence of counterfeit medicines sold in 'brick and mortar' pharmacies in the U.S. is estimated to be less than 1 percent of the total market value, the World Health Organization estimates that over 50 percent of medicines purchased from Internet sites without a physical address are counterfeit.”

AstraZeneca points out in the letter that despite the additional dangers that counterfeit medications can cause, including illness and death, it is currently treated as a similar crime to other non-lethal trafficking crimes.

Said the letter, “The proposed sanctions and sentencing guidelines would serve as powerful deterrents to pharmaceutical counterfeiting, greatly benefitting patient safety and health.”

By S. Imber