News Coverage

The Partnership for Safe Medicines has been publishing information about the counterfeit drug problem around the world for more than a decade. With experts leading the organization and a committed and passionate set of writers and editors, our content is more in-depth than many other sources, which simply copy links to the news from other websites.

EU Customs seized more than $1.4 billion in fake goods

July 26, 2011

A European Union annual report found customs officials last year seized more than 100 million pieces of fake goods, including counterfeit medicines, that had a street value of over $1.4 billion, much of it purchased on the internet.

Check out this unusual scene in China

July 26, 2011

A steamroller crushing thousands of boxes of prescription medicines. Why? Despite looking very real, these drugs are counterfeit and dangerous. Globally, the threat of fake medicine is very real.

Czech Police Find Hundreds of Thousands of Fake Pills

July 26, 2011

Czech police announced today that they busted an organized crime ring that had a factory that made “hundreds of thousands of [counterfeit] tablets.” The crime ring, composed of ex-athletes, body builders, fitness trainers and coaches, produced and sold counterfeit anabolic steroids and other hormone-based drugs, reports Czech Position. The police’s unit for combating organized crime,…

Friend Relives Details of Death from Medicine Purchased Online

July 25, 2011

Glenda Billerbeck, visiting for Christmas, said goodbye to her friend Marcia Bergeron, not knowing the flu she thought her friend had was actually heavy metal poisoning which would kill her the same day.

Self-Sufficiency Key to Secure Medicine

July 22, 2011

Nigerian leader, Dr. Paul Orhii, discussed the difficulties of keeping the drug supply free from counterfeit medicines, including porous borders, lack of resources, and the dependence upon foreign medication for their own health.

In an interview with Winifred Ogbedo in magazine Leadership, Dr. Orhii, the director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), discussed the strides he’s been able to make to improve the safety of medication available to Nigerians, and the biggest obstacles to overcome, notably the development of domestically controlled medicine manufacturing.

Dr. Orhii is seeking to develop a domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing business because he says, “it’s a national security issue,” with 70% of essential medications imported from out of country.

Counterfeit Drugs Removed from Manilla Shelves

July 22, 2011

A test-buy conducted by Filipino National Bureau of Investigation agents determined counterfeit medicines were being mass distributed by a drug store chain throughout The Philippines.   Agents conducted raids of Sincere Drug Store branches and its warehouse facility in Bacolod City in June, acting on complaints that counterfeits of medications produced by legitimate Filipino manufacturers…

New Spectral Database for Counterfeit Drugs

July 18, 2011

Swiss researchers have developed a database of fake medicines using Raman spectrometry data in order to help investigators follow the counterfeit distribution chain from manufacturers to distributors internationally.   The University of Lausanne and Roche are using near-infrared and Raman spectra, as well as gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy…

Harrisburg Pharmacist Sentenced for Running Fake Online Pharmacy

July 13, 2011

A Pennsylvania licensed pharmacist who operated a brick and mortar pharmacy in Harrisburg, PA, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for illegally distribution pain medication and stimulants over the internet. Stephen L. Marks, 67, formerly of Carlisle, PA, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances and money laundering. At his plea, he admitted…

Americans Using Fake Pharmacies to Treat Serious Illness More than EU and Canada

July 12, 2011

Screenshot of an Eva brand fake online pharmacy UCSD researchers have collected data that shows that 33% of medications purchased by Americans from a fake Internet pharmacy affiliate program are for serious illness.  They estimate that 85% of all serious illness medication purchased online from fake online pharmacies is purchased by Americans. Researchers at the University…

Counterfeit Medicine Distributors Sentenced in the UK

July 11, 2011

Two Bristol men pleaded guilty in Bristol Crown Court to supplying and distributing counterfeit medication made in China to the UK and Europe. Graham Dawson, 29, admitted he contacted counterfeit drug producers in China and used Colin Proctor, 29, to send shipments received from China to destinations across the UK and Europe, reported the Bristol…

Illinois Man Convicted of Shipping Meds for Fake Online Pharmacy

July 8, 2011

An Illinois resident pleaded guilty in Federal Court to conspiracy to distribute and dispenses Schedule III and IV controlled substances and to illegal use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug crime by shipping drug orders for fake online pharmacy customers. Steven B. Immergluck, 35, of Aurora, IL, pleaded guilty without a trial. Immergluck…

More than Half of all Sales to Rogue Internet Pharmacies Were Processed by the Top 7 Banks

July 6, 2011

The top seven card-issuing banks were processors for more than half of all medicine sales to the largest fake Internet pharmacies in the past four years. Brian Krebs reports that sales data stolen from Glavmed, a Russian affiliate program that pays webmasters to host and promote fake online pharmacies, show that card-issuing banks are key…

Owner of Rogue Pharmacy Network Arrested for Employing Hackers

July 5, 2011

Pavel Vrublevsky, co-owner of Rx-Promotion, a rogue online pharmacy affiliate network, as well as ChronoPay, the largest online payment processor in Russia, has been arrested by Russian authorities for allegedly hiring a hacker to attack a rival payment processing company. Russian state news, Vesti, reports that Vrublevsky allegedly hired a hacker who debilitated the current…

Pharmaceutical Drug Crime Rising, But At A Slower Place

June 28, 2011

Since completion of its annual review of the incidence of pharmaceutical crime including the counterfeiting, illegal diversion and theft of medicines, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute has been engaged in briefings of drug regulators around the world.

Counterfeit Inhaler Importer Sentenced in UK

June 27, 2011

One of three businessmen accused of importing and selling counterfeit asthma inhalers in the United Kingdom has been convicted and sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment for possessing 800 counterfeit asthma inhalers. Premal Gandesha, of West Drayton, pleaded guilty on June 13, 2011, to importing medicine from outside the European Economic Area through his company, Blueridge…

Counterfeit Meds Found in Canada: Contains Ingredients Not in Authentic Product

June 24, 2011

Health Canada, the Canadian health regulatory agency, has discovered fake medication in the Toronto area that contains ingredients not found in the legitmate medication.

The seized medication is fake erectile dysfunction medication mimicking Cialis in shape, form, and similar packaging, but actually contains sildenafil, a prescription medication not found in authentic Cialis that can be very dangerous to people with heart conditions and requires careful medical supervision for use.  

Health Canada reminds consumers to look for drug identification numbers to verify authenticity. “Health products that have been authorized for sale by Health Canada will have an eight-digit Drug Identification Number (DIN), a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DINHM) or a Natural Product Number (NPN) on the label.”

The blisterpacks of the fake medication look very similar.  The logo is reproduced in larger form on the counterfeit, and the typeface is similar but incorrect.  Most notably, the counterfeit package has tadalafil written on it in four languages, including Russian.  

In addition, the authentic Cialis blister packs have a logo that changes color from copper to green when the package is tilted, which is not true of the counterfeits, reports CBC News Canada.

Counterfeit Cialis Seized in the Greater Toronto Area

June 23, 2011

This is a reprint of the Health Canada alert. Following an R.C.M.P. seizure of counterfeit Cialis in the Greater Toronto Area, Health Canada is reminding Canadians that unauthorized and counterfeit health products can pose serious risks to their health as they have not been reviewed by the Department for safety, quality, or efficacy. The seized…

Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Purchased Online Suspected in Two Deaths

June 21, 2011

Gardaí issued a warning about the use of counterfeit medication following the accidental death of two men in Tralee, Ireland. Gardaí in Kerry believe counterfeit tranquilizers purchased over the internet were involved in the deaths of two men, one in his late 20s, and the other in his early 30s, reports The Irish Examiner. Detective…

Anti-Counterfeiting Medicine Lab Opens in Southern Africa

June 21, 2011

Zambian government officials have allocated K2 billion to building a National Drug Quality Control Laboratory in Lusaka, announced the Ministry of Health. Under the authority of the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority, the goal of the laboratory is to curb the spread of counterfeit medicine within Zambia, reports the Zambia Daily Mail. Said Minster of Health Kapembwa…

Unlicensed Pharmacy Network Tied to Russian Mob and Corrupt Police

June 20, 2011

The online pharmacy spam in your email is probably coming from an online pharmacy organization with close links to organized crime and corrupt police in Russia.

The most actively promoted online pharmacies via spam are associated with, according to University of California at San Diego researchers.

Now new documents have revealed that, an affiliate network of rogue pharmacies, is associated with ChronoPay, the largest payment processor in Russia. While ChronoPay claims to be the PayPal of Russia, it makes a large part of its profits from illegal internet-based businesses, including promoting extreme pornographic websites, selling pirated music and movies, and is known for paying off police inspectors and working with nefarious banks.

Investigative reporter Brian Krebs has reported that evidence provided to law enforcement agencies has revealed that ChronoPay’s chief executive, Pavel Vrublevsky, is also definitively the criminal mastermind of this collection of illicit businesses, including the online pharmacies.

According to Krebs, Vrublevsky purchased a license for an Intranet service called “MegaPlan” which is a project management system he used to keep a track of ChronoPay’s “black” operations, including processing payments for counterfeit prescription drugs sold through hundreds of websites affiliated with rogue online pharmacy program

Delving into the MegaPlan, law enforcement agents discovered how ChronoPay employees tracked payments, ordered supplies, and ran advertising partnerships for and other nefarious services, including “rape” pornography sites and other violent pornography, as well as pirated mp3s, and fake anti-virus software known as “scareware.”

Though employees used pseudonyms in the system, they forwarded the pseudonymic email to their actual ChronoPay email accounts, which allowed authorities to identify them.

The project management software revealed that the equal partners for the rogue pharmacy promotion program, Rx-Promotion, were Vrubelvsky and Yuri Kabayenkov. But in addition, a former Russian police investigator, previously in charge of a criminal investigation of Vrublevsky, was identified as being on the payroll.

Lifesaving Medicine Discovered to be Counterfeit, No Active Ingredient

June 20, 2011

The Food and Drug Board (FDB) of Ghana announced that laboratory analyses discovered anti-malarial medication without any active ingredients. Dr. Stephen Opuni, Chief Executive of the FDB, said that counterfeit medication, artesunate tablets, labeled as if manufactured by Guilin Pharmaceutical Co in China, had been analyzed for artesunate contain none, reported the Ghana News Agency.…

United Nations Focusing on Counterfeit Medicine Trade in West Africa

June 20, 2011

United Nations officials working with African government ministers and Interpol representatives pledged to fight drug trafficking and organized crime, focusing on counterfeit medicine production and trade throughout West Africa, in Dakar on June 20, 2011. The inaugural session of the High-Level Policy Committee of the West Africa Coast Initiative was filled with discussion about how…

Conspirators Sell Counterfeit Medicine Over Email and Craigslist

June 16, 2011

A Maryland man has been implicated as an alleged partner to the Waldorf woman arrested for allegedly selling counterfeit medication out of her house. 34 year old Dwayne Skiles was charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods according to an unsealed complaint, reports The Washington Examiner. According to the complaint issued by the District Court of…

Fake Doctor and Counterfeit Medicine Hawkers Arrested in Nigeria

June 15, 2011

In Nigeria, a 40 year old fake Cameroonian doctor has been arrested administering counterfeit medication to patients in a local hospital, and 400 people have been implicated in a N70 million conspiracy to sell counterfeit drugs. The supposed doctor, Kweken Allen Blaise, from Cameroon, collaborated with Yahaya Jidda, from Taraba State, confessed to smuggling fake…

Bahrain Customs Go After Online Drugs

June 15, 2011

Bahrain’s customs officers are now strictly screening medications delivered via the mail to Bahrain residents. The Health Ministry pharmacy and drug control director Sahar Al Qahtani said that they are cracking down on potentially harmful counterfeit drugs and herbal remedies not licensed for use in Bahrain. Recipients of medication packages are now brought in for…

Cloud Based Technology Stops Drug Counterfeiters and Malaria

June 14, 2011

Cloud based technologies have been implemented in two new initiatives to help improve health in Africa, a mobile phone based system to collect malaria data in Botswana, and a counterfeit medicine detection service in Ghana and Nigeria. The malaria data collection service is run by a Botswana-based nonprofit, Positive Innovation for the New Generation (PING).…

Qatar Drafts Counterfeit Drug Law

June 14, 2011

Qatar is working on the first counterfeit drug law in country, announced the Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health’s Pharmacy and Drug Control Department (PDCD). PDCD director, Dr Aisha Ebrahim Al Ansari, said that the law is currently being reviewed and will be adopted and submitted to higher authorities for approval, reports The Gulf News. “The…

Online Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to 7 Years in Fake Drug Distribution Conspiracy

June 13, 2011

An online pharmacy owner, operating out of Texas, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison for trafficking and attempting to traffic in counterfeit medicine, specifically fake versions of the pharmaceutical weight loss drug known as Alli that contained a dangerous substitute ingredient that caused stroke in one victim. The U.S. Department of Justice issued…

Egyptian Counterfeit Drugs Up 20%

June 13, 2011

Egyptian officials say local counterfeit drug trade including life saving medications has peaked in a year with an estimation of LE 1billion. Al-Gomhuriya reports that experts are predicting a 10% growth in the counterfeit medicine market for 2010. Local pharmacists are concerned saying, “The sale of counterfeit medical drugs has risen.” Abdul Aziz Hanafi, a…

Americans Using Fake Medicine Endanger Their Lives and Risk Involvement with Criminals

June 7, 2011

Every day Americans go to Tijuana, Mexico to buy prescription drugs at discounted prices, despite US state department warnings that criminals impersonating Mexican authorities have detained US citizens with legitimate prescriptions and demanded large bribes. 25% of the prescription medications available in Mexico are fake or substandard, estimates US authorities, reports CNN. Counterfeit medications are…

Rogue Internet Pharmacy Owner Gets 48 Months in Prison, Canadian Partner is a Fugitive

June 6, 2011

  On June 3, 2011, an internet pharmacy owner that solid misbranded and counterfeit drugs, as well as controlled substances, was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison. The other half of the partnership, his Canadian co-conspirator, is wanted by officials.   Manuel Calvelo, 37, a Belgian citizen, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy…

3 Million Doses of Counterfeit Medication Confiscated in San Francisco

June 6, 2011

San Francisco Customs report that over 3 million doses of fake drugs were seized in 2010 at San Francisco International Airport. Chief Customs Officer Ed Low at the International Mailing Facility at San Francisco International Airport finds counterfeit drugs coming through the mail every day, including penicillin, valium, and erectile dysfunction medication, reports CBS News.…

WikiPharmacy New Spammer Ploy to Fool Consumers

June 3, 2011

Consumers beware: there is no wikipharmacy. This is a new ploy by spammers to entice the unwitting into revealing personal financial information and purchasing unregulated medicines from fake drug hawkers. Spammers have created a wiki-style layout for a so-called “WikiPharmacy” to entice purchasers through advertising low prices. Victims are drawn in by the known reliability…

Patients Awaken During Surgery with Fake Anesthetics

June 2, 2011

Fake vials of surgical anesthetics have been found in the marketplace in Birtangar, Nepal, after a patient awoke mid-gallstone surgery. A patient awoke during a gallstone removal procedure in a private hospital in Biratngar, five minutes after being administered with the anesthetic, Vacuron. Doctors notified authorities who found fake vials of the anesthetic in the…

Fake Drug Hawkers Threaten Anti-Counterfeiting Officials in Nigeria

May 31, 2011

NAFDAC officials were surrounded and threatened by drug traders while raiding a pharmaceutical marketplace with a masked informant in Nigeria. Three suspected fake medicine sellers were apprehended by authorities with their wares by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) however the majority of suspects had emptied their shops prior to the raid,…

Online Pharmacy Owner Caught Selling Fake Drugs Out Of London Garage

May 31, 2011

An Uxbridge resident has pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit medicine online from a repair garage in northwest London. Saranjit Bhambra admitted to operating a website,, that sold prescription erectile dysfunction medication without a prescription. He pleaded guilty on April 26, 2011, to one offense of selling medicinal products that contain ingredients found in medicines…

200 Arrested in Fake Medicine Ring

May 30, 2011

Police in China’s Zhejiang Province arrested more than 200 suspects on May 25, 2011, for allegedly manufacturing and selling fake medicine and health care products. Over 1,000 police officers from the Jinhua Public Security Department raided 41 locations and arrested in total 263 people, mostly originally from Loudi, in Hunan Province, reported the China Business…

Detroit Man Arrested a Second Time for Counterfeit Drug Sales

May 30, 2011

Federal authorities arrested a Detroit resident on May 26, 2011, for running a counterfeit medicine ring. Gene Hardwick, 49, allegedly bought hundreds of fake erectile dysfunction pills online for 50 cents apiece and then sold them locally for $3- $4 each, netting roughly $800 a month, reports the Detroit Free Press. Federal authorities were alerted…

UK Paramedic Dies of Accidental Overdose of Drugs Sold Through Foreign Online Pharmacy

May 27, 2011

The death of a London paramedic has been ruled accidental after she ingested a fatal dose of pills purchased from a foreign online pharmacy.

Lorna Lambden, 27, a paramedic and Masters Degree student at the University of Hertfordshire, was found dead in her home on December 17, 2010, after ingesting pills purchased over the internet without a prescription, reports the Daily Mail.

The coroner, Edward Thomas, found a fatal level of the drug amitriptyline in her blood. Thomas added that the medication had not been prescribed to Lambden, but suspected she purchased an equivalent called “amitrip” from a foreign internet-based pharmacy.

Said Thomas, “…four milligrams [worth of amitriptyline were] found in her blood, and a therapeutic level is about one milligram.” He went on to say that after taking the drug she collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia, reports the St. Albans Review.

Lambden’s family knew that she had trouble sleeping and suspect she purchased the medication to rest between twelve hour shifts with the London Ambulance Service, reports the London Metro.

Lambden’s mother, a retired accident and emergency sister, said: “It’s terrible that these drugs are so freely available online and people can buy them without seeing any warnings about the harm they can do.”

Coroner Thomas said: “Amitriptyline can stop the heart and I think that is likely here. Lorna would not have known it had happened. It would not have been like a heart attack.”

Miami Woman Arrested for Fake Botox Injections

May 27, 2011

A Miami facialist has been arrested by police for allegedly perfoming unlicensed facial injections of counterfeit Botox that severely injured two people. Diana Marcela Cardenas-Gonzalez, 28, was charged on Tuesday, May 24th, of practicing medicine without a license, and practicing health care without a license causing injuries, reports NBC Miami. On September 26, 2010, in…

Counterfeit Diet Drugs Banned in the US Found for Sale In Israel

May 27, 2011

US FDA alerted US consumers to sibutramine containing diet capsules in early May, and now those same capsules have been found for sale in Israel, according to the Israeli Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Crime Unit. The drug was withdrawn from the US market due to safety reasons in October 2010, and has sent a “large number”…

New Zealand Woman Risks Death with Fake Botox Injections

May 26, 2011

New Zealand and Australian surgeons are warning people not to buy fake Botox injections on the internet after several people were severely injured and suffered life-threatening complications. The President of the New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine, Dr. Teresa Cattin, says that they often see women with injuries from do-it-yourself botox injections, reports MSN New…

Product Recall: Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsule for Undeclared Drug Ingredient

May 26, 2011

This is a reprint of the FDA Safety Alert. All lots of Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsule, 30 Capsules/Bottle, are being recalled. The products were sold and distributed nationwide via the internet and at the company’s headquarters in Hollywood, Florida. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to purchase or use “Slim…

Medicine Cargo Stolen in Tennessee

May 25, 2011

13,000 packages of a variety of generic medicines in approximately 400 cases were seized in a robbery from a tractor trailer parked in a secure yard in Jackson, TN on May 14, 2011. Securing Pharma reports that the stolen cargo included “cholesterol-lowering colestipol tablets, eplerenone tablets for heart failure, the antibiotics azithromycin and clindamycin in…

Study Highlights Risk of Online Drug Purchases

May 24, 2011

Dr. Mark Baron, of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences, published a study in the Drug Testing and Analysis Journal for May 2011 which exposes the likelihood drugs purchased on the internet may not contain the ingredients they claim.  The study published May 20, 2011 in the Journal of Drug Testing and Analysis, purchased…

Suspect Medicine Turns Up on Craigslist

May 23, 2011

The California State Board of Pharmacy announced an investigation into people illegally selling prescription drugs online after an ABC Eyewitness news exposé. Eyewitness News reported users illegally selling prescription medications through the online classified advertisement service. Virgina Herold, Executive Office of the California State Board of Pharmacy said, “It’s unfortunate that Craigslist is now…

Fake Cancer Drug Ring Exposed in Chinese Trial

May 20, 2011

Eleven defendants pleaded guilty to producing and selling fake cancer drug medication that caused eye infections in 61 people in Shanghai, China. 

The counterfeit cancer medication, given to patients suffering macular degeneration, was containmnated saline, reported the prosecution to the Luwan District People’s Court, reported English Eastday.

A drug test report by the Shanghai Institute for Food and Drug Control found that the fake Avastin contained excessive bacteria endotoxin.

The 61 patients were among 116 people who received the fake medicine in September 2010. 

The process for the distribution of the fake medication was detailed by defendants, reported the Shanghai Daily.

Second African Diaspora Marketplace to Launch 4Q11

May 20, 2011

USAID announced that it will launch a second African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM) in the fourth quarter of 2011, to encourage economic growth by supporting U.S.-based African Diaspora entrepreneurs for start up businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.  One such firm that made headlines in 2010 is Sproxil, a provider of cell phone technology in Nigeria used by…

EU Drug Counterfeiting Organization Intercepted in Spain

May 19, 2011

Spanish police have arrested 26 people in Marbella, Spain, suspected of leading a network of counterfeit medicine distributors throughout Europe. Spanish police uncovered over 700,000 doses of suspect medication. The illegal susbstances are suspected of being imported int Glasgow, Scotland, before distribution throughout Europe from the port of Manchester, England, reports the Telegraph. Police said…

Canadians Find Millions in Fake Drugs

May 18, 2011

Canadian Mounties seized more than 115,000 counterfeit pills during a raid at a Mississauga, Ontario, warehouse on May 13, 2011. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police estimates that value of drugs, combined with a stash of fake designer clothing, at $5 million Canadian, reports CNews. Mounties in British Columbia intercepted 15,000 fake erectile dysfunction pills packaged…

UNODC Up Against Crime Syndicates in Fight To Curb Fake Drugs

May 17, 2011

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has announced that it will take an active part in helping countries fight drug counterfeiters in a growing alarm over fake drugs impact on preventable deaths and super bugs. Says UNODC, approximately $1.6 billion worth of medication in Africa and Asia alone is being faked by growing…

Second New Jersey Couple Charged With Selling Counterfeit Drugs

May 16, 2011

A New Jersey couple pleaded guilty to charges they engaged in the unlicensed wholesale distribution of pharmaceuticals, admitting they sold fake drugs manufactured in India to customers in the United States. Nita Patel, 47, and her husband, Harshad, 53, of Closter, pleaded guilty in Camden, New Jersey, on May 16th, 2011, reported the North Jersey…

Fake Antibiotics Found in Six States

May 16, 2011

The FDA has issued an alert warning American consumers to be on the look out for look-alike fake antibiotics. Dietary supplements purporting to have antibiotic or antifungal properties that actually contain no antimicrobial ingredients have been found in five states but may be found elsewhere in the US.

FDA: Don’t buy drugs marketed as antimicrobial dietary supplements

May 16, 2011

This is a reprint of the FDA alert. Fast Facts The FDA is warning consumers not to use products marketed as dietary supplements that also claim to be antimicrobial (antibiotic, antifungal or antiviral) drugs. These illegal products are falsely promoted with claims to treat illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis and the common…

FDA warns about counterfeit ExtenZe dietary supplements

May 16, 2011

This is a reprint of the FDA alert. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about a potentially harmful product represented as “ExtenZe,” a dietary supplement for male sexual enhancement. The counterfeit product looks similar to the actual product, but contains hidden ingredients that can cause serious harm to consumers. The counterfeit product…

Australians Catch 24 Packages of Fake Drugs Every Month

May 13, 2011

Australian customs officials in Queensland have stopped 288 packages containing counterfeit medications in the past twelve months, an increase of 7 fold from the previous year. Consumers concerned about costs, or purposefully circumventing the prescription process, have been purchasing everything from weight-loss pills to opiates on line. In many case, the drugs are marketed using…

NABP: 96% of Online Pharmacies are Not Safe for Consumers

May 12, 2011

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) issued a progress report for state and federal regulators summarizing the overwhelming quantity of internet drug outlets selling prescription medications operating out of compliance with laws and patient safety standards.

New Technology Stems the Rising Tide of Fake Drugs

May 12, 2011

When a country is large and porous, keeping fake drugs out of the country isn’t as effective as keeping them out of the marketplace with new anti-counterfeit technology, reports Dr. Paul Orhii, of Nigeria.

Recent Dr. Oz show highlights life-threatening consequences of counterfeit Botox

May 12, 2011

by Dr. Bryan Liang, VP of the Partnership for Safe Medicines

Recently I was on the Doctor Oz show, which highlighted the public health dangers of counterfeit Botox. The danger here is very real as counterfeit Botox has been growing. The number of counterfeits found are continuing to rise, with the FDA opening 20% more investigations over the past couple of years that include Botox. More recently, Chinese Botox fakes have been found with concentrations differing by 500% than stated on its label that use materials that may cause severe allergic reactions. Hence, the real scope of the problem is probably much worse.

If you are thinking of getting a Botox treatment, I recommend following the four simple rules below that were discussed on the show yesterday:

Be an informed consumer

Learn about what are safe sources for pharmaceuticals, and learn how to be skeptical of deals that seem “too good to be true”.  When it comes to medications, they probably are.  You can learn more at the consumer section of our website.

Know who is performing your treatment

Plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and properly trained opthalmologists and otolaryngologists (ENT doctors) are the only ones who should be injecting Botox.  It is possible to get certified to inject Botox without any medical training, but I don’t recommend using these persons because they may lack training in the event of a medical emergency.

Fake Anti-Malaria Medicine Spreads Malaria

May 11, 2011

Bright Ekweremadu, the Managing Director of the Society for Family Health (SFH) blames “rampant adulteration” of anti-malaria drugs for malaria rates in Nigeria.

New Hampshire Woman Pleads Guilty to Fake Pill Smuggling

May 10, 2011

Elisane Garcia of Hooksett, New Hampshire, pled guilty to a four-count indictment charging her with smuggling goods into the U.S., selling misbranded drugs, possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute and money laundering. Garcia paid $45,000 for thousands of pills, known as “Brazilian diet pills,” delivered to her from suppliers in Brazil. These…

FDA, FTC act to remove fraudulent STD products from the market

May 9, 2011

This is a reprint of the FDA alert. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced a joint effort to remove products from the market that make unproven claims to treat, cure, and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Among the products targeted in today’s action are Medavir, Herpaflor,…

Supplement Maker Sentenced for Using Unapproved Drugs

May 9, 2011

An Idaho federal court sentenced a Vista, California nutritional supplement maker, Tribravus Enterprises, for the unlawful manufacture and distribution of unapproved synthetic steroids in over-the-counter pills marketed as “dietary supplements.”

Fake Antibiotics Discovered in Hanoi

May 9, 2011

Vietnamese officials have discovered counterfeit antibiotics and are alerting consumers and pharmacists.

Texas Attorney General Sues Fake Antibiotic Distributor

May 6, 2011

The Texas Attorney General’s Office is suing two American companies for distributing products falsely advertised as antibiotics that were marketed primarily to Spanish speakers in the U.S.

After an Austin hospital alerted authorities that pediatric patients had been given fake antibiotics, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued a warning and opened an investigation.

Small Step Forward for Doctors Fighting Disease and Fake Drugs

May 6, 2011

A German NGO, “Doctors for Developing Countries,” is finding its work in Africa hampered by overwhelming volumes of fake drugs in the supply chain. It is using a new tool that provides identifies some types of fakes, but not all of them.

Texas Children Given Fake Antibiotics

May 5, 2011

Texas officials are investigating several over-the-counterfeit medications falsely advertised as antibiotics and warning people to avoid these fakes.

Doctors in an Austin hospital reported that several children were given these products by their parents, prompting the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to issue a warning and open an investigation.

Rogue Pharmacies Using Facebook To Hook Victims

May 5, 2011

Rogue pharmacies are now advertising by using Facebook’s social networking interface.

A brief search on Facebook for term “Viagra” popped up 90 pages.One page, entitled “viagra” [sic] is a Product/Service page and has almost 7,000 fans.

Thousands of Fake Pills Found in Northampton, UK

May 2, 2011

Police raided a Northamptom, UK house in April 9 and uncovered more than 8,000 tablets fake pills suspected by police of having been imported from outside the country. Northampton prosecutors have charged Victor Cheke, 41, with importing a prescription drug for sale without authority, reports The Northampton Chronicle & Echo. At the arraignment, the court…

Increased Vigilance Secures Medical Supply Chain

April 29, 2011

Pharmaceutical cargo theft rates have stayed flat since 2008, after a 283 percent increase between 2006 and 2008. Ed Silverman of Pharmalot reports that “attempts to curtail hijacked trucks and warehouse burglaries may be making a different in the rate of pharmaceutical thefts” due to increased vigilance by drug makers. Most pharmaceutical cargo thefts are…

FDA Collects Samples for Lifesaving Database

April 28, 2011

  The International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council is cooperating with FDA officials to provide excipient samples for counterfeit and contamination testing in a database collected by the Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA) within the US FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).   Initial screenings will be done using four technologies to quickly identify materials…

New Jersey Residents Arrested for Fake Drug Manufacturing in Basement

April 28, 2011

The Food and Drug Administration announced the unsealing of an indictment on March 25, 2011, after the arrest of two Americans charged with manufacturing and selling fake medication in New Jersey. Brian Parker, 27, and Michelle Pfeiffer, 24, of Brielle and Toms River, NJ, respectively, were charged with conspiracy to misbrand drugs, impeding the lawful…

More Defendants Sentenced in U.S. Illegal Online Pharmacy Case

April 27, 2011

Two more conspirators were sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiring to unlawfully distribute human growth hormone and anabolic steroids through an online pharmacy on April 20th, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

William L. Dailey, 72, of Boca Raton, Florida and James M. D’Amico, 58, a former licensed dentist from Cape Coral, Florida worked for Powermedica, Inc., a pharmacy in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and were sentenced in March and April 2011, after their co-conspirators, Daniel L. Dailey, the CEO, and Manuel Sanguily, a prescribing physician, were sentenced last year, announced Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and David W. Bourne, Special Agent in Charge, FDA.

Powermedica sold hGH and anabolic steroids to customers nationwide. Doctors involved with the illegal online pharmacy would merely rubber stamp the orders for the drugs without examining the patients or even reviewing their medical histories.

Defendant Daniel L. Dailey was the Chief Executive Officer of Powermedica and his father, William L. Dailey, was Powermedica’s president and Chief Operating Officer. Manuel Sanguily and James M. D’Amico signed the drug orders that purported to be “prescriptions” for the dispensing of the hGH and anabolic steroids to Powermedica’s nationwide clientele.

The defendants all admitted that they knew that the hGH and anabolic steroids Powermedica distributed were being used for performance enhancement and admitted that they knew that Powermedica’s sales staff, who were not medically trained, were deciding in consultation with the customers which drugs the customers were to receive. In addition, they all admitted that the licensed practitioners, such as Sanguily and D’Amico, were simply signing the prepared drugs orders without meeting with, talking to, or physically examining the customers, and without reviewing the customer’s medical history record or blood test results, announced Ferrer and Bourne.

Pharmacy Technician Indicted in Major Drug Diversion

April 27, 2011

April 25, 2011 – Cleveland, Ohio prosecutors have charged four people in a forty count indictment for allegedly conducting a major prescription drug diversion ring, dealing millions in painkillers. Cuyahoga County prosecutors said that drugs were obtained with the help of a pharmacy insider and then sold on the street. Ebonie Hubbard, a pharmacy technician…

Fake Diabetes Test Strips Found in India

April 26, 2011

Life-threatening counterfeit diabetes test strips were discovered in India, five years after similar fakes were discovered in the U.S. Officials believe the fakes were manufactured in China and packaged with false labeling in India for intranational distribution. Johnson & Johnson spokesman David Detmers told the Wall Street Journal that they believe the fake strips were…

Thirteen Indicted of Infiltrating Hospital with Fake Drugs

April 26, 2011

Thirteen suspects were charged by the Luwan District Prosecutors’ Office of manufacturing and selling a fake cancer drug that caused eye infections in 61 people in Shanghai on April 26, 2011. 116 patients of Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital were prescribed Avastin, a cancer drug also used to treat macular degeneration in September 2010. Of…

Two Indian Fake Medicine Operations Busted

April 25, 2011

Indian police busted a fake medicine packing unit in Patna, India on April 22, 2011. Police led a team to a house owned by Vidyanand Thakur in Nagwan village and seized fake medication in powder form, wrappers, a punching machine and medicine filled in bottles, reports The Times of India. The Superintendent of Police said…

WHO Worst Fears Realized: Drug Resistant Malaria Found in Second Location

April 22, 2011

Early warning signs suggest spread of an artemisinin-resistant strain of malaria to the Thai-Myanmar border. Charles Delacollette, coordinator of the WHO’s Bangkok-based Mekong Malaria Programme, said, “what we are seeing along the Thai-Myanmar border seems equally serious … to what we had at the Thai-Cambodian one,” reports IRIN, the news service of the UN Office…

SMS Used to Monitor Secure Malaria Drug Supply

April 22, 2011

Tanzania is receiving a new mobile phone SMS message system to monitor the supply of regulated malaria drugs, announced Roll Back Malaria on April 22, 2011. Roll Back Malaria is a partnership with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Novartis, Vodacom and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The nationwide program comes…

Vast Malaria Drug Theft Leaves Patients Untreated

April 21, 2011

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have discovered that millions of dollars of donated malaria drugs have been stolen since 2009, vastly exceeding the suspected levels of theft.

The Global Fund developed a new anti-corruption program after exposed grant fraud prompted donors to demand greater transparency, reports the Associated Press.

Officials identified thirteen countries, mostly in Africa, where the drugs have gone missing from government supplies and have been resold, possibly tampered with or improperly stored, on the black market.

“Heat, high humidity and exposure to sunshine can cause accelerated decomposition of the stolen product,” says Dr. Marv Shepherd, Director of the Center for Pharmacoeconomic Studies at University of Texas-Austin’s College of Pharmacy. When these products are re-sold on the black market, they could be ineffectve at treating malaria and contribute to the growing resistance problem.

Global Fund spokesman Jon Liden said that $2.5 milion worth of malaria drugs are suspected of being stolen from Toga, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Cambodia, adding, “We take this very seriously and we will do what it takes to protect our investment.”

Western Cambodia is undergoing an outbreak of artemisinin resistant malaria, the first known worldwide, caused, in part, by poor malarial treatments. The treatments are poor due to improper drug treatment regiments, or because medications purchased for these regiments may have been diluted or stored improperly and therefore weakened. Additionally, counterfeit pills with limited or no effectiveness may have been repackaged in the legitimate medicine packaging.

Tom Kubic, President and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute is concerned. “Theft of this magnitude of life saving medication is a very serious global health concern. Every time medication leaves the legitimate supply chain it is vulnerable to tampering, including dilution of injectable drugs. Additionally, there have been incidents were counterfeit medicines were found in genuine, reused packaging. Gravely ill patients are at risk of receiving ineffective treatment and again, the most needy suffer.”

US Doctor Sold Fake Cancer Drugs to Patients: Gets 1 Year in Jail

April 21, 2011

On April 15, 2011, Kurt Walter Donsbach, 75, of San Diego, was sentenced to a year in county jail and probation of ten years after pleading guilty in December to 13 felony charges including unlawfully selling fake drugs to cancer patients, practicing medicine without a license and attempted grand theft.

Suburban Mom Sells Counterfeit Medicine to Undercover Agent

April 20, 2011

On April 18, 2011, a Maryland woman was charged in federal court with selling large numbers of counterfeit erectile dysfunction medication to undercover agents. Sarah Ann Knott, 28, of Waldorf, told an undercover postal inspector that she could sell thousands of ED pills in a matter of months and kept them out of reach of…

Pet Medications Can Be Faked Too

April 18, 2011

FDA officials are reminding pet owners to verify their online pharmacy’s authenticity before purchasing heartworm medication for their pets this spring. With spring comes heartworms, and pet owners now go to purchase the potentially expensive medication necessary for the health of domestic pets. However, unsuspecting consumers could be giving their pets counterfeit medications which will…

US Training African Nations to Better Identify Dangerous Fake Drugs

April 18, 2011

In Accra, Ghana, scientists from the national laboratories of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Sierra Leon, are being trained this week to use the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s database of medicine samples in order to better identify falsified and counterfeit medicines that plague their countries’ marketplaces. U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a nonprofit public health organization…

PSM Executive Director To Speak at Pharmacy Conference

April 15, 2011

Scott LaGanga, Executive Director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, will address pharmaceutical scientists from industry, government, academia, and others on the topic of counterfeiting and patient safety on August 18, 2011 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy conference entitled, “The Role of CMC Quality in Ensuring Patient Safety: From Development through Commercialization.”…

Operation “Bright Sword” Disrupts Counterfeiters

April 14, 2011

Chinese police have seized 14,185 suspects since November, 2010, in a campaign to halt the trade in counterfeit goods, including software, food, drugs, and luggage. The Ministry of Public Security announced April 12, 2011, that the suspects were involved in more than 8,000 investigations into counterfeiting and 7,000 production and sales outlets, reported China Daily.…

Online Snake Oil Salesmen Exploit Japanese Radiation Fears

April 14, 2011

Japanese police arrested two people for allegedly selling fake drugs to protect from radiation exposure in Tokyo. Natsumi Chiba, 29, and Fumitaka Umewaka, 50, allegedly sold “Premium Zeolite,” advertising it as a substance that absorbs and removes radiation from the body. Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department said that they sold the drug online to people in…

Vice-Chair of IMPACT Speaks in Geneva

April 13, 2011

The World Health Assembly (WHA) held a drug counterfeiting session in Geneva, Switzerland, where Dr. Paul Orhii, vice-chair of the 193 member-nation International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT) based in Geneva rallied members to come to consensus and move forward to fight the drug safety problems caused by fake medication distribution. Orhii, also Director-General…

WHO Calls for Coordinated Effort to Fight Drug Resistance

April 13, 2011

2011 World Health Day was commemorated by WHO regional director, Luis Gomes Sambo, by urging leaders to fight drug resistance by removing counterfeit medicine, bad prescribing habits and over exposure to sub-optimal quantities of medications. “If not properly managed, resistant germs may spread and cause severe diseases. However, attempts have been made to overcome drug…

Fugitive Fake Drug Trafficker Flees After Conviction

April 11, 2011

After being convicted of conspiring to traffic fake medication, En Wang, 32, owner of a Houston based company, while free on bond, fled the country prior to his sentencing. Wang was sentenced in absentia to 33 months in federal prison without parole on March 28, 2011. Homeland Security Investigators believe that Wang left the US…

UK Counterfeit Cancer Drug Distributor Sentenced to Eight Years

April 8, 2011

Peter Gillespie, 64, of Windsor, Berkshire, was found guilty of all charges at Croydon Crown Court for what the MHRA has called “the most serious known breach of counterfeit medicine in the regulated supply chain.”

In the trial, which began in November 2010, Gillespie and four associated businessmen were accused of running a fake cancer, heart, and mental health medication distribution scheme, in which they were accused of infiltrating the legitimate supply chain, based on Gillespie’s well known stature in the pharmaceutical wholesale field, with fake medications imported from Asia.

Gillespie was sentenced to eight years, and his four co-defendants were acquitted, announced the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Gillespie was charged with importing over two million doses of fake medication for serious health concerns, including prostate cancer, blood clots and psychosis. Gillespie was convicted of importing over 2 million doses into the UK in a five month period. More than half the medications were seized by MHRA, however 900,000 doses reached pharmacies and patients, with more than 700,000 of those doses unrecoverable.

He was affiliated with Kevin Xu, convicted in the United States of importation of the same chemically deficient medications. U.S. Federal Customs and Immigration authorities, alerted to Xu’s role in the UK debacle, organized a sting operation where he sold large quantities of counterfeit medication to undercover agents. He was tried in Federal Court and found guilty of selling counterfeit goods, ordered pay $1.3 million in restitution and sentenced to over six years in prison.

Sniffing Out the Fake Drugs

April 8, 2011

Finnish customs agents have borrowed a trained drug sniffing dog with an expertise in counterfeit medicine to patrol baggage and mail.

A fluffy black and white spotted dog, named Springer, has been trained to identify narcotics, like pungent smelling hashish, as well as scents indiscernible to the human nose, like fake erectile dysfunction medication.

Three Month Trial of Alleged Fake Cancer Drug Distributors Ends

April 7, 2011

Prosecuting lawyer, Andrew Marshall, told Croydon Crown Court, that the five defendants accused of selling fake Chinese-manufactured medicine were deliberately “protect[ing] their dirty business.” Five pharmaceutical wholesaler businessmen, who had done business together legitimately for many years, are accused of deliberately purchasing fake cancer, heart disease, and mental health medications and selling them into the…

China Increases Penalty for Drug Fakers

April 7, 2011

The People’s Republic of China has removed a maximum sentencing requirement of three years imprisonment for convicted medicine counterfeiters. The change in Article 141 of the Criminal Law has removed the upper limit for jail terms. Additionally, the new law removes the test of demonstrable harm, in other words, the counterfeiters can be prosecuted for…

The Community Must Stand Up to Protect Victims of Fake Drugs

April 5, 2011

Sri Lankan stakeholders gathered in Kandy on April 4th to educate pharmacists “to protect Sri Lankan families from counterfeit drugs” at the Sri Lanka Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry conference (SLCPI). Promoted also by the US Embassy, American Chamber of Commercial and the National Intellectual Property Organization, the seminar was attended by Health Ministry and Drug…

Fake Contraceptive Medicine Impacts Uganda

April 5, 2011

The Ugandan National Drug Authority issued a public alert on April 3rd, 2011, that counterfeit contraceptives are on sale in country. Frederick Ssekyana, the Drug Authority’s public relations officer, warned consumers to look carefully at the security features on the pills, reports the Ugandan news source, New Vision. The back side of the pill package…

New Technology to Fight Counterfeiting: Data Collection and Sharing

April 5, 2011

A new database of medicines will provide African, South American and Southeast Asian governments with technological data to use in identifying fake medicine. The Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) program developed by USAID and the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has launched a new public database of drugs collected and analyzed in collaboration with government…

US Fake Medicine Cases Increased Year Over Year

April 1, 2011

The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations reported that 72 cases had been opened up in 2010, 11% more than the year before, and at 3-5 times what was reported a decade ago. Reports Pharmaceutical Commerce, Deputy Administrator Dr. Ilisa Bernstein cited those figures during a presentation for the Pew Prescription Project in Washington, DC in…

X-Hero and Male Enhancer: Recall – Undeclared Drug Ingredient

March 30, 2011

This is a reprint of the FDA alert. ISSUE: FDA lab analysis of X-Hero found the product contains sulfosildenafil, the analogue of the active ingredient of an FDA-approved drug used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), making X-Hero an unapproved drug. In addition, FDA analysis of Male Enhancer sample found the product contains tadalafil, the active…

20 Tons of Fake Antibiotics, Analgesics and Other Medicines Collected in Peru

March 30, 2011

Peruvian officials have confiscated 20 tons of fake medication since 2007. 30% of the fakes confiscated were counterfeit antibiotics and another 30% fraudulent analgesics. Peru’s General Agency for Medicine and Drugs (Digemid) reported that antibiotics, analgesics and anti-inflammatories are the most fake medications in Peru, reported Living In Peru. “What is most often faked are…