PSM’s Scott LaGanga to Japan Medical Association: Counterfeit Medicines a Global Health Menace

PSM Executive Director Urges Greater International Cooperation in
Major Address to the Japan Medical Association

TOKYO, JAPAN (September 19, 2013) – Partnership for Safe Medicines Executive Director Scott LaGanga stressed the urgent need for greater global education and collaboration to fight the growing health threat posed by counterfeit and substandard medicines in an address to the Japan Medical Association (JMA). Speaking at a symposium attended by JMA members, patient advocates, pharmaceutical industry representatives and government officials, LaGanga highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by the international community in combatting the spread of fake drugs.

“The international healthcare community is in the midst of a perfect storm regarding the counterfeit drug trade,” said LaGanga. “The striking ease with which unsuspecting victims can purchase potentially deadly fake medicines with the click of a mouse calls for a redoubling of efforts to educate the world’s patients to this growing threat. Only by working together will we be able to turn the tide in our favor.”

Today’s event, a joint symposium of the Japan Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), brought together a diverse cross-section of Japan’s medical community for a discussion of a wide range of issues. In bringing to light the dangers posed by counterfeit drugs, LaGanga also pointed out recent successes, such as INTERPOL’s global sting operations, named Pangea, that have led to the seizure of millions of doses of fake medicines and brought perpetrators to justice. LaGanga also discussed the increasing role that PSM is playing worldwide in partnering with stakeholders to fight the spread of counterfeits in countries like India and China.

“Education is the key to eradicating counterfeit medicines,” said LaGanga. “We’re seeing much greater cooperation as more governments come to see how their citizens are affected by fake drugs. PSM will continue in its global advocacy efforts to ensure patients, governments, and regulatory and law enforcement agencies truly understand the scope of the problem and how to work together to bring it under control.”