Nancy Kennedy, Linda Marks, Senior Litigation Counsel of the Consumer
Protection Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice spoke.
She also emphasized the international scale of the counterfeit
drug problem. Online reselling of unapproved, illegal and dangerous
medications can have too much, too little, no, or the wrong active ingredient.
General intellectual property crimes statute has been enhanced
specifically for counterfeit drugs by raising the penalty to 20 years and
increasing the financial penalty to $5 million. Also statutes have been
enhanced to make it easier to show that medication is counterfeit. FDASIA
also specifically added a statute for knowingly adulterating a medication.
FDASIA directed the Attorney General to give increased priority to
counterfeit drug cases.
Mark's first experience with counterfeit drugs was in 2000, with
an Australian selling counterfeit medications online in a small town in
Alabama, But the simplicity of this two-country crime is outmoded; now crimes
involve many countries and involve shell names, transfer of money by Western
Union, and banks transferring money between countries. In addition, phony
declarations on packages that say things like "medical samples" or
Investigations take time and very extensive web of international
criminal organizations but the Department of Justice continues to work
diligently to stop them, concluded Marks.