ACTION: Raise penalties for manufacturing fake pills using illegal pill presses

Illegal pill presses are rarely prosecuted and cost American lives. Help increase the criminal penalties for those caught distributing controlled substances with them.

Illegal pill presses are the source of a great many counterfeits that harm Americans. Over the past five years, families in 39 states lost family members to counterfeit pills, many of them made here in America using illegal pill presses and molds. Penalties for possessing an illegal pill press are not significant enough to deter criminals from using them. In fact, possession of an illegal pill press or mold is a crime that's rarely even charged by prosecutors.

We aim to change that. Following on the heels of PSM's ground breaking report on pill presses, four legislators introduced bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House and Senate that escalates penalties for controlled-substance related crimes if the criminal has a pill press mold in their possession. Instead of increasing the penalty for such molds, it simply takes a controlled substance crime and increases the penalty.

While these counterfeits come into the U.S. from all over the world, a significant number are made here in America. We need to do everything we can to ensure that criminals that we do catch making counterfeit pills don't get light sentences. We owe that much to the families who have lost loved ones to counterfeit pills.

Use the form at the right to tell your elected officials in the House and Senate to co-sponsor the Criminalizing Abused Substance Templates (CAST) Act: HR 4510 from Rep. Kustoff (R-TN-8) and Rep. Spanberger (D-VA-7) and S. 2573 from Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Hassan (D-NH). For this bill to go anywhere, we need to generate additional co-sponsors.


TIPS for a great letter that has an impact

If you've had a friend or family member hurt by a counterfeit, take some time to tell their story. If you just say, "My friend died of a counterfeit pill", the legislator may miss reading that. If you explain a little about your friend, the family and friends they leave behind, and the hole they leave in the community, your letter is more likely to move the legislator to action.

Learn more about illegal pill presses

Read the ground breaking report co-authored by the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and the Partnership for Safe Medicines that reveals the problem of poor regulation of pill presses and pill molds in America, and how it contributes to harm to Americans. [PDF] To see other materials from the launch of the report, see our report page.

View and download our infographic that explains how criminals make counterfeit pills using pill presses.

Image of Pill Press Infographic

Watch the video highlights of the release of our report on illegal pill presses.