Chinese officials announced the arrest of almost 2,000 people in a counterfeit drug ring operating in China. Authorities there said the drugs discovered were responsible for causing serious ailments, such as liver & kidney damage, and heart failure.

According the Reuters, suspects in the case were advertising the sale of their drugs online, in newspapers, and even on television.  More than 1,000 manufacturing facilities for counterfeit medicines were destroyed, and more than $180 million worth of counterfeit drugs.  

Chinese officials announced the arrest of almost 2,000 people in a counterfeit drug ring operating in China. Authorities there said the drugs discovered were responsible for causing serious ailments, such as liver & kidney damage, and heart failure.

According the Reuters, suspects in the case were advertising the sale of their drugs online, in newspapers, and even on television.  More than 1,000 manufacturing facilities for counterfeit medicines were destroyed, and more than $180 million worth of counterfeit drugs.  

Chinese government authorities have been cracking down on the sale of counterfeit medicines based upon concerns about the prevalence of fake medicines and tainted food in China. Government officials acknowledge that counterfeiters are using more sophisticated means which are harder to detect, reports the New York Times.

In April, 2012, Chinese authorities detained 22 people for making drug capsules using chromium, a toxic metal, and removed 13 Chinese manufactured medications due to excessive chromium levels. In May 2011, 11 Chinese defendants pleaded guilty to producing and selling fake cancer medication that caused infections in 61 people in Shanghai.  

Due to the increasing globalization of medicine and health products, the US Food and Drug Administration opened offices in China in 2008, after reports that melamine in Chinese baby formula had sickened 30,000 babies and killed six. 

“Combating snake oil salesmen was one of the FDA’s earliest jobs more than 100 years ago. But fighting the snake oil salesmen of today is getting harder. Today, FDA-regulated products originate from approximately 300,000 foreign facilities spread across more than 150 countries,” said  FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, who will be giving the keynote speech at the Partnership for Safe Medicines 2012 Interchange

Get a window on global efforts to combat counterfeit drug crime at the 2012 Interchange, where professionals in the fields of policy, government, medicine, patient safety, and law enforcement from around the globe will be gathering for a one-day conference in Washington DC September 28th. Please join us.

By S. Imber