In Fight Against Counterfeit Pills, Ontario Lawmakers Seek To Restrict Pill Presses

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On September 21, 2017, Inside Ontario reported that an Ontario legislature bill passed a key hurdle to becoming law. Bill 126, Pill Press Act, 2017 will prevent anyone except pharmacists from using or possessing a pill press, an essential piece of equipment utilized in the manufacturing of illegal counterfeit pills. The law penalizes first-time offenders with a fine up to $200,000 or six months in jail with fines and sentences increasing with subsequent convictions.

Progressive Conservative Member of the Provincial Parliament Michael Harris said this bill would hamper organized criminals ability to churn out counterfeit drugs made with fentanyl. Global News reported that the bill would increase law enforcement’s ability to obtain search warrants and charge for counterfeit drug crimes. Harris said, “We’re talking about organized crime or street drug dealers that are manufacturing illegal counterfeit opiates that, frankly, are laced with fentanyl and they’re killing Canadians.”

Although the importation of pill presses is banned, MPP Harris feels this bill will close a legal loophole for any pill presses already in the province or that are shipped in pieces to slip them past inspectors. Harris said politicians must ensure that law enforcement has the tools they need to do their jobs. Harris’s proposed legislation is similar to one passed last year in Alberta, one of Canada’s provinces hardest hit by the counterfeit pill crisis. In May, Global News reported that the province declared a public health crisis in response to the increasing number of opioid deaths in their province.