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.

Countries Work to Secure Panama Canal from Terrorist Attacks, Counterfeit Shipments

August 26, 2010

Eighteen countries, including the U.S., recently participated in military maneuvers in Panama City, Panama to prepare for any potential terrorist act that could disrupt maritime traffic. Over the course of 12 days more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel took part in the exercises designed to protect the canal that handles 5 percent of all…

Man Charged with Violating Philippines’ Laws on Counterfeit Drugs

August 25, 2010

Authorities in the Philippines recently arrested a man from Pakistan for allegedly selling pills that can cause abortions, some of which may have been counterfeit. Mohammed Hanif, a 53-year-old, was arrested for selling the drugs in a supermarket parking lot in Libis, said chief inspector Jerome Balbontin of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit in…

Pharmaceutical Cargo Thefts on the Rise in Mexico

August 25, 2010

Figures recently released by a cargo security firm show that Mexico has become a popular spot for pharmaceutical cargo theft. In the second quarter of 2010 there were six pharmaceutical cargo thefts in Mexico, compared to three in the first three months of the year, according to logistics security firm FreightWatch. While the number of…

75% Increase in counterfeit drugs imported into Switzerland

August 24, 2010

The amount of counterfeit drugs arriving in Switzerland increased 75 percent in the first half of the year, according to health officials. The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) said that it had received 992 reports of suspicious, potentially counterfeit drug imports from Federal Customs officials through the first half of 2010, according to…

Fake Emails Sending Users to Supposed Canadian Pharmacy Website

August 24, 2010

Researchers for an internet security company are warning consumers about a new email spam campaign that is sending users to an ostensibly online Canadian pharmacy. Avira, a German antivirus company, says that the campaign sends spam to email accounts that are similar to those associated with phishing attacks, “In the recent past we saw…

South Korea battles counterfeit medication smuggling

August 23, 2010

South Korea estimates the quantity of counterfeit erectile dysfunction (ED) medication smuggled into the country is 23 times greater than five years ago, according to the Korea Herald. The National Tax Service (NTS) has detected 18 cases of smuggled impotence medicine worth 90.6 billion won ($77 million) in total for the first six months of…

China releases the names of 33 counterfeit drugs in circulation

August 20, 2010

China released the names of thirty-three counterfeit medications on the loose. The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) disclosed on August 17 that thirty-three counterfeit medicines are circulating in the country and urged local and regional governments to vigilantly monitor local pharmacies and medical institutions for counterfeit copies of trademarked medications. Tongrentang (TRT), a prestigious…

Matrix Code Technology Joins Counterfeit Stoppers

August 19, 2010

  A new ‘track and trace’ technology is being developed to uniquely mark pharmaceutical products and improve traceability.   The technique will allow faster identification and resolution of any manufacturing quality problems but will also prove invaluable as an anti-counterfeit measure because the specific coding and validation systems are almost impossible to copy. This technology…

German Prosecutors Find Suspect Drugs in Supply Chain

August 18, 2010

Germany is investigating dozens of pharmacies in the north of the country for suspected involvement in the distribution of illegal medicines, including counterfeits, reports Prosecutors have brought charges against one pharmacist from the Braunschweig region who is accused of handling €1.68m-worth. Pharmacies in Hamburg, Celle, Verden and Kiel are also being probed, reports the…

Man Given Four Years for Illegal Online Pharmacy

August 17, 2010

A federal judge recently sentenced a man to four years in prison for his part in operating an illegal online pharmacy that distributed anabolic steroids to a number of high-profile individuals. J. Michael Bennet, a pharmacist, was one of five people found guilty earlier this year of running the online pharmacy, called Applied Pharmacy Services…

Packaging Company Proposes Anti-Countefeiting Technology

August 17, 2010

AA packaging machinery manufacturer has proposed a new anti-counterfeiting technology that may help protect people from counterfeit drugs.   The proposed technology would place a serialized label on the side of the individual blister packs and also put a synchronized marking on the bottom of each drug container, according to Packaging Digest. The marking on…

Web Company Accused of Registering Illegal Online Pharmacy Domain Names

August 16, 2010

A company that has registered 8 percent of the world’s website domain names has been accused of registering about one-third of all the world’s illegal online pharmacies’ websites. Critics are calling on Demand Media to end its registration of illegal online pharmacies, as well as saying it should stop some of its other controversial activities,…

Nigerian Businessman Arraigned on Counterfeit Drug Charges

August 9, 2010

A Nigerian businessman was recently arraigned for allegedly importing counterfeit drugs into the country. Paulinus Ejike Onuah is accused of importing counterfeit drugs into Nigeria, including fake versions of Lincocin Capsule, Ampiclox, Atesenate and Postinor, according to PM News. Onuah was arraigned by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in front…

Two Drug Makers To Use Text Message Anti-Counterfeiting Technology

August 6, 2010

Two international pharmaceutical companies recently announced that they would use SaaS-based anti-counterfeiting technology to combat counterfeit drugs. This type of anti-counterfeiting technology places a scratchable area on drug packaging. The consumer then scratches it to reveal a number. That number is then sent via text message to a government agency, which in turn sends it…

Tech Company To Give Drug Makers Anti-Counterfeiting Technology

August 4, 2010

A technology company has entered an agreement with a number of pharmaceutical companies in India to supply them with an anti-counterfeiting technology. By using nanotechnology the company says it can track medications through the supply chain and thus may prevent counterfeit drugs from entering it. Specifically, the technology puts unique “fingerprints” on products that can…

Illegal Online Pharmacies Still Selling Potentially Dangerous Acne Drug

August 4, 2010

A number of illegal online pharmacies are selling an acne-fighting drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled from the market last year. Accutane first appeared in the U.S. in 1982, but over the years it was revealed that the medication could cause a number of serious side effects including inflammatory bowel disease…

Phone App Can Help Fight Counterfeit Drugs

August 3, 2010

Nowadays it seems like everything can be done on cell phones; from taking pictures to checking the score of the ballgame, everything is seemingly in the palm of one’s hand. Now a company is introducing an application (or “app”) for smart phones that will theoretically allow drug manufactures to more closely monitor the pharmaceutical supply…

Nigerian Authorities Seizes Counterfeit Drugs made in China

July 29, 2010

Counterfeit antibiotics without the power to cure bacterial infections were seized at Abuja airport. A report published yesterday in The Hindu Business Line, a Chennai-based business journal, described an incident in which a counterfeit version of V.S. International’s ciprofloxacin, believed to have originated in China, was seized by Nigeria’s regulatory authority, The National Agency for…

Pacific Northwest Dealing with Counterfeit Drugs

July 26, 2010

Counterfeit drugs may be on the rise in the Pacific Northwest, posing a serious health risk to those who depend on prescription medications. Some pharmaceutical industry experts say that the production of counterfeit drugs is a growing rapidly and America’s northwest region is one of the main places where this is occurring, reports KIRO radio.…

Anti-counterfeiting Technology Could Help Governments Track Fake Drugs

July 23, 2010

Developing nations have struggled mightily with counterfeit drugs, like when 400 people in Nigeria, Haiti and Bangladesh died from taking a medication treated with wallpaper remover, and that is why anti-counterfeiting technologies can be important in preventing counterfeit drugs from entering the secure pharmaceutical supply chain. One such technology has been in use for diabetes…

Edible Microtags: A New Anti-Counterfeiting Technology

July 20, 2010

While many anti-counterfeiting technologies focus on protecting consumers from counterfeit drugs through unique and hard-to-duplicate packaging, there is another way to ensure the authenticity of a medication: edible microtags. A number of companies have been working to develop this anti-counterfeiting technology after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released guidance on the matter last…

Tiny Technology Could Stop Counterfeit Drugs

July 20, 2010

Ensuring that medications are authentic and not counterfeit drugs is essential for pharmaceutical companies to maintain patient safety. Now there is a new technology that appears to be able to do just that. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, tiny chips that can be tracked, have been used to track animals in the agriculture industry to…

Can you spot a counterfeit version of a drug you take?

July 14, 2010

NBC’s Today show aired a piece this morning about counterfeits. Host Matt Lauer, who takes Lipitor, is shown two packages of pills. One bag has counterfeit Lipitor pills and the other one has the real drug. He looks at it and cannot figure out which is which. Check out the clip: Watch the full clip…

Pfizer Shifts Approach on Fighting Counterfeit Drugs

July 12, 2010

In the past five years many unscrupulous individuals have tried to cash in on the market by producing counterfeit drugs. One convicted counterfeiter is Martin Hickman, who made millions of dollars by sellingknockoffs of Pfizer’s popular impotence drug, Viagra, on more than 150 websites, according to Business Week. The drug maker eventually caught Hickman and…

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Vice President, June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010

REMARKS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT AND VICTORIA ESPINEL, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENFORCEMENT COORDINATOR, ON THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENFORCEMENT STRATEGY Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, D.C. 11:17 A.M. EDT THE VICE PRESIDENT: Welcome, everybody. We’re going to be relatively brief here. Thank you for being here. I’m going to ask Victoria, who was responsible for…

Video Excerpts from Briefing of Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property

June 22, 2010

The following excerpts of today’s White House briefing on the Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement are relevant to the problem of counterfeit drugs.   Vice President Biden clearly identifies the problem facing consumers and patients today. To learn more about our take on this announcement, see our press release. Vice President: “We need…

PSM Profiles the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies

June 21, 2010

In mid-May 2010, a collection of leaders in the pharmaceutical space joined to launch the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), of which the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is an educating party. We caught up with Libby Baney, an advisor at B&D Consulting who counsels the Alliance, to learn more about its mission. PSM:…

Microsoft and Yahoo Announce Changes to Online Advertising of Pharmaceuticals

June 10, 2010

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) commends mainstream search engines Microsoft and Yahoo for their recent decision requiring U.S. pharmaceutical advertisers to be accredited by the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) program in order to advertise online. Google was the first engine to require pharmaceutical advertisers to be VIPPS-accredited, a move the PSM commended…

PSM Attends Panel on Intellectual Property Rights and Counterfeit Drugs

June 8, 2010

On May 27, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) held an event to address intellectual property (IP) rights, a discussion that extended to issues of counterfeit and substandard medicines in developing parts of the world. PSM Executive Director Scott LaGanga moderated a panel discussion with Sproxil’s Ashifi Gogo, Dr. Vishal Patel…

Rogue Pharmacy Using Social Media

May 5, 2010

Earlier today, the Guardian’s Technology Blog posted a malware roundup to alert readers of scams and spam making their way around the Internet. Disturbingly, author Chris Arthur found that a known rogue pharmacy has set up shop on Twitter. The Official Canadian Pharmacy at uses the Twitter handle @canadianshop to boldly display its offerings,…

PSM Delivers Recommendations to IPEC Regarding the Joint Strategic Plan

April 12, 2010

Given the growing threat of counterfeit drugs around the world, the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) goes to great lengths to inform and educate consumers, health care professionals and policymakers about this multifaceted issue. Most recently, we submitted recommendations to the office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) following its request for comments regarding…

Yahoo Fails to Address Counterfeit Drugs in Remarks to FDA

March 25, 2010

At the end of February, the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) answered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) call for comments on their docket concerning the Promotion of FDA-Regulated Medical Products Using the Internet and Social Media Tools. We submitted our recommendations on the tail of Google’s change to its online advertising policies, requiring…

PSM Vice President Expecting Full House for Counterfeit Drug Conference

March 17, 2010

Each year, Partnership for Safe Medicines Vice President Dr. Bryan Liang hosts a health policy conference in San Diego. We’re happy to report that all seats have been filled for his March 26, 2010 conference, “Pharmaceutical Crime: Investigating and Prosecuting Drug Diversion and Counterfeiting,” sponsored by the Institute of Health Law Studies at the California…

Nigeria Using SMS to Thwart Counterfeit Drugs

March 17, 2010

Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has launched a text messaging service that can verify whether a drug is counterfeit or the real thing. The Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) allows anyone in Nigeria to check the authenticity of their medicines. How it works: A card attached to each medicine pack…

Ghodse H. Watching Internet Pharmacies. Br J Psychiatry. 2010;196:169-170.

March 10, 2010

The number of illegal internet pharmacies selling prescription-only medicines without a prescription is increasing. Large quantities of drugs are dispensed, making drugs of abuse readily available, and further risks are posed by counterfeit medication. Urgent national and international action is required to stop further proliferation of illegal pharmacies. Watching Internet Pharmacies

FDA / Sirius Alert: Nearly 12,000 Kits of ClindaReach® Pledgets Stolen from Truck

March 9, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received warning of nearly 12,000 kits of ClindaReach® Pledgets, (Clindamycin Phosphate Topical Solution UPS, 1%), a topical acne treatment, which were stolen from a tractor-trailer on or around February 7, 2010 while in transit. The theft occurred in Monroe, Ohio. According to the manufacturer, Sirius—a wholly owned subsidiary…

PSM Delivers Social Media Recommendations to the FDA

March 9, 2010

If you’re familiar with the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), you’re familiar with our goal: to mitigate the threat of counterfeit and unsafe medicines to patients. The internet and social media have been both a hindrance to our efforts—giving legs to unlicensed online pharmacies, search engine advertising and spam—and a help—providing a tool for outreach…

Online Pharmacies, Free Trade Zones and Counterfeit Drugs

March 3, 2010

Nearly four years ago, Americans were warned against buying prescription drugs from Web sites linked to Canada’s biggest mail-order pharmacies, Mediplan Prescription Plus Pharmacy—also known as RxNorth—after laboratory tests of intercepted shipments detected counterfeits. Among the counterfeits were widely prescribed medications for heart disease and cholesterol. At the time, Mediplan’s Founder and President Andrew Strempler…

European Counterfeit Drug Market Worth more than $14 Billion

February 23, 2010

At the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), we've long cautioned consumers about the dangers of counterfeit drugs—a growing issue affecting all corners of the globe. Now, the Pfizer-commissioned study, "Cracking Counterfeit Europe," has estimated that the counterfeit medicines market in Europe is worth more than $14 billion. The investigation, which covered 14 European countries, comes…

Partnership for Safe Medicines Applauds Google’s Updated U.S. Pharmaceutical Advertising Policy

February 10, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – Feb. 10, 2010 – The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) today commended Google for its updated policy on U.S. pharmaceutical advertising through its paid search program, AdWords. Toward the end of the month, Google will refine its advertising model to accept ads only from online pharmacies in the U.S. that are accredited…

FDA Alert Regarding Counterfeit Alli

January 26, 2010

The U.S. FDA released an updated public health alert regarding counterfeit Alli being sold over the internet. According to the FDA, here’s what you need to know: Alli is an FDA-approved, over-the-counter weight loss drug. FDA lab tests have confirmed that counterfeit versions of the drug do not contain the FDA-approved active ingredient; rather, they…

Who is PharmacyChecker? Checking the Facts on

December 15, 2009

Who is PharmacyChecker is a company that provided online pharmacy certification services for the major search engines until 2010. Why did the search engines stop using PharmacyChecker’s services? None of the search engines gave a public reason for ending their relationship with PharmacyChecker.  Several experts in the field, including our own Bryan Liang, criticized…

Partnerka, Counterfeit Drugs and the New Counterfeit Spam

November 25, 2009

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) has long reported on the growing issue of pharmaceutical spam advertising—and now SophosLab Canada has taken a closer look at the solicitation of counterfeit products online.

Spotlight on KnujOn: Combating Counterfeits Online – Conclusion

November 23, 2009

This is concludes our interview with Garth Bruen, co-founder of KnujOn, an internet compliance company, on the subjects of counterfeit drugs sold online, search engine advertising what’s needed from regulators to protect Web users. PSM: FDA is preparing to receive public remarks regarding the online promotion of medical products and adverse event reporting. What recommendations…

Consumer Protection Group Applauds International Efforts to Combat Illegal Online Pharmacies

November 20, 2009

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) issued the following statement regarding the International Internet Week of Action, code named Operation Pangea II, intended to curb illegal actions involving medical products. PSM is a group of organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting consumers from counterfeit medicines.

Spotlight on KnujOn: Combating Counterfeits Online, Part 4

November 18, 2009

This is part four of our interview with Garth Bruen, co-founder of KnujOn, an internet compliance company. We talked to him about the KnujOn system, search engine advertising and what’s needed from regulatory bodies to protect Web users from counterfeit and substandard drug solicitations online. Read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 PSM:…

Spotlight on KnujOn: Combating Counterfeits Online, Part 3

November 17, 2009

This is part three of our interview with Garth Bruen, co-founder of KnujOn, an internet compliance company. We talked to him about the KnujOn system, search engine advertising and what’s needed from regulatory bodies to protect Web users from counterfeit and substandard drug solicitations online. Read: Part 1 | Part 2 PSM: What steps have…

Spotlight on KnujOn: Combating Counterfeits Online, Part 2

November 16, 2009

This is part two of an interview with Garth Bruen, the co-founder of KnujOn, an internet compliance company, on the KnujOn system, search engine advertising and what’s needed from regulatory agencies to protect consumers from counterfeit medical products advertised online. Read part one of our interview. PSM: Have you noticed an uptick in the number…

Spotlight on KnujOn: Combating Counterfeits Online, Part 1

November 13, 2009

The dangers of online pharmacies and unlicensed drug sellers are well documented. In fact, recent reports released by KnujOn, an internet compliance company, found that 80 to 90 percent of search engine-sponsored advertisements of online drug pharmacies violate federal and state laws, including selling substandard and counterfeit drugs to unsuspecting consumers. To make matters worse,…

“Safe” Country Focus: United Kingdom

November 13, 2009

As my colleague Thomas Kubic recently noted, most supporters of drug importation have a faulty assumption that developed countries like Canada, Australia, Japan and the 27 members of the European Union (E.U.) are insulated from the global threat of counterfeit drugs. In the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at some of these so-called “safe” countries and illustrate why there is no such thing as a “safe” country when it comes to drug importation.

PSAs Warn Cambodians of Counterfeit Drug Dangers

October 23, 2009

Earlier this month, a public health campaign was launched in Cambodia to help raise awareness and combat the rising threat of counterfeit drugs throughout Southeast Asia. The campaign, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Convention with the support of Cambodian authorities, includes a nationally broadcasted public service announcement (PSA) series titled “Pharmacide.”

NBC Nightly News story about counterfeit swine flu vaccine

October 15, 2009

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

TIME Article on Counterfeit Drugs Trade

October 15, 2009

Read the TIMES article. Washington-based agency the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, run by Partnership for Safe Medicines board member Thomas Kubic, was created to address the problem of major pharmaceutical companies losing billions every year to counterfeit drug trafficking around the world. Now a group of international dignitaries and industry experts will join this international effort…

FDA Warns of Online H1N1 Influenza Virus Drug Product Purchases

October 15, 2009

FDA is alerting you to a use extreme caution when purchasing any medication over the Internet claiming to prevent or treat H1N1 influenza virus. Several orders of the H1N1 vaccine Tamiflu (oseltamivir) purchased from online pharmacies were found to be a health threat to consumers.

The new “Spamalot” – Spam Solicitations for Counterfeit Drugs

October 15, 2009

On October 13, a USA Today article featured a report released from the antivirus company McAfee. They found that 70 percent of spam in September was from websites advertizing “Canadian pharmaceuticals.” Further, the only thing that made it “Canadian” was the word Canadian and the maple leaves on the spammers’ web page. The increase in counterfeit drug spam may be due to the rising fears surrounding H1N1 flu, as well as the intensity around the topic of healthcare costs.

Cambodia: Fighting counterfeit medicines with TV spots and Minilabs

October 14, 2009

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) launched a series of public service announcements on counterfeit medicines in Phnom Penh last week. First broadcast on national television in Cambodia subsequent translations into other languages will help also to spread the word throughout all countries of the Greater Mekong region.…

IACC incident map sample

October 14, 2009

View IACC incident map in a larger map

Creating Marketplaces Free from Counterfeit Drugs

October 12, 2009

On October 12, The Foundation Chirac, a long-time champion of access to safe medicines in African countries, is hosting a meeting in Cotonou, Benin, to discuss the counterfeit drugs that plague African citizens.

Internet Search Engines Promote Illegal Online Pharmacies

September 18, 2009

The Partnership for Safe Medicines, a group of organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting consumers from counterfeit medicines, issued the following statement regarding recent reports released by LegitScript, an online pharmacy verification service, and KnujOn,an Internet compliance company, which found that 80 to 90 percent of search engine-sponsored advertisements of online drug pharmacies violate federal and state laws, including selling substandard or counterfeit drugs to unsuspecting consumers.

Tractor-trailer of asthma medication stolen in Florida; see lot numbers

September 18, 2009

Third incident of stolen asthma inhalers in two months stems from a truck theft on September 8, 2009 in Florida.

Did You Ever Wonder Why People Buy Counterfeit Drugs?

September 14, 2009

Last month, the Wall Street Journal featured an article that discussed the efforts currently underway to deter people from buying counterfeit products. It pointed out that many anti-counterfeiting messages fail to address the underlying motivation which leads people to buy counterfeit products.

Upcoming BBC Series focuses on counterfeit products, including medicine orders that come with free ‘Bonus Viagra’

September 9, 2009

An upcoming BBC series entitled "Fake Britain" will demonstrate how easy it is for patients to be tricked by unscrupulous pharmaceutical vendors online.  The series, part of the BBC's "Fake Britain" week, focuses on counterfeit products of all types. In the series the chair of the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, Jim Thomson,…

Thoughts and responses on “Why Steal A Truck Full Of Drugs”

September 2, 2009

Our recent roundtable discussion post, “Why Steal A Truck Full Of Drugs” generated a lot of attention for this usually obscure policy issue.  One reader who is a veteran colleague of drug diversion enforcement, Carlos M. Aquino at PharmaDiversion, LLC, wrote: I just read, “Why Steal a Truck Full of Drugs?” and I have to…

Counterfeit Heparin Blamed for Worldwide Deaths

August 30, 2009

View larger map What: Counterfeit heparin has been linked to the deaths of 81 people and resulted in hundreds of allergic reactions in the United States. Batches of contaminated heparin were also detected in 11 other countries – resulting in as many as 68 more deaths. Reports issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…

Counterfeit Drug Ring Busted in Montreal

August 26, 2009

View larger map What: Officials seized 15,000 counterfeit pills and arrested nine people during raids in the Montreal region. Counterfeit Viagra and cancer drugs were among the seized pills. When: August 6, 2009 Where: Montreal, Canada Additional details: According to the Montreal Gazette, the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy (RCMP) seized 15,000 counterfeit pills and arrested…

Microsoft’s Sponsors Illegal Online Pharmacies

August 13, 2009

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) strongly believes that that no one should be able to purchase prescription drugs, including controlled substances, over the Internet without a valid prescription and physician oversight. Last year we sent every member of Congress a postcard that illustrated this face and earlier this year, my colleague Dr. Bryan Liang published a paper in the American Journal of Law & Medicine that highlights how Internet search engines support illegal online drug sales and identified three key ways we can stop “online pharmacies” from peddling their dangerous wares in cyberspace.

Asthma Drug Theft Alert and Public Warning

August 11, 2009

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the McKinney, Texas, Police Department have reported that on August 7 a tractor-trailer truck containing a 35,760-carton shipment Dey brand generic Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution was stolen in McKinney, Texas. We are concerned that they could make their way to consumers via online pharmacies.

Plastic surgery practice in Albany admits giving fake Botox injections [[New York]]

August 11, 2009

Five Capital Region doctors were convicted in federal court today on charges of misbranding drugs after they admitted to using a cheaper Botox substitue on unsuspecting patients, reports CBS News. The Plastic Surgery Group, LLP, of Albany(TPSG), pleaded guilty to the charge after an investigation found the doctors in the practice had been injecting patients…

Inside the World of Counterfeit Drugs

August 6, 2009

Part 3: Implications for the U.S. and the Drug Importation Debate – As the debate surrounding the possible ban on the repackaging of medicines in Europe simmers to a boil, here in the United States the potentially dangerous practice of ordering prescription medicines via the Internet is mushrooming. Enticed by the promise of cheaper drugs and convenience by buying online, patients are largely unaware of the risks that come with online pharmacies. These risks can range from receiving products with too much, too little or no active ingredients, to being exposed to counterfeit products, which in some rare cases have been found to contain rat poison, boric acid and even inkjet cartridges!

Inside the World of Counterfeit Drugs

July 24, 2009

Part 2: The European Repackaging Debate – Last week we witnessed the confusing practice of repackaging of prescription medicines within the European Union (EU) through the eyes of a fictitious Dutch patient picking up his blood pressure tablets at a city retail pharmacy. The patient’s experience is shared by millions of Europeans living in Germany, Great Britain, and Holland among other countries. Under current EU rules, medicines can be re-boxed or re-labeled after they leave the site of production, and tablets can be removed from their blisters and reconditioned. Counterfeiters can exploit this fact in order to sneak their fake goods past regulators. One of the prime sources of counterfeit medicines, which can enter the drug supply at the point of repackaging, is the Internet.

Inside the World of Counterfeit Drugs

July 17, 2009

Part 1: Your critical role in safe medicines — In recent blog entries, the Partnership for Safe Medicines’ (PSM) experts have warned consumers and pharmacists of the dangers that counterfeit drugs pose, recapped legislation surrounding these issues and highlighting incidents of counterfeit drugs from across the world. However, this month we have invited guest blogger Gregory Zec to share his thoughts on some current drug safety issues. This week, Gregory uses a fictional consumer’s experiences (which he based on real patients’ stories) to explore the confusion many patients encounter from when they receive repackaged, imported prescription drugs from a legitimate pharmacy.

Dangerous Assumptions Drawn From List of Permitted Countries

July 9, 2009

Periodically proposals are floated both in Washington, DC and state capitols that would allow Americans to import drugs from 32 “permitted” countries – Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the 27 members of the European Union. There is a perception that these countries have “safe” drug supplies insulated from the dangers that every other nation in the world.

Education…The Prescription for Purchasing Medications

June 4, 2009

The cost of counterfeiting is much more than money. In too many cases, counterfeiting costs human health and in some cases lives. For example, a group of clinics in Sierra Leone were closed last week for allegedly administering counterfeit drugs. Other cases involving online drug sellers have claimed the health and lives of patients who bought from illicit Web sites.

Mile High Warnings of Counterfeit Drugs

May 28, 2009

It’s happening all the time. Nearly every day, there are new reports of counterfeit drugs flooding the world’s prescription drug market. Just last week, the Partnership for Safe Medicines posted a link about how counterfeit drugs are hastening drug-resistant strains of malaria. And the week before, we shared the news reports out of the United Kingdom about a raid on an Irish counterfeit drug distribution operation and the MHRA’s recall due to possible counterfeit inhalers found in the U.K. supply system.

Cheerios… A Threat Larger Than Counterfeit Drugs?

May 21, 2009

On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administered a warning against General Mills regarding the claim that Cheerios® Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal has the ability to lower cholesterol. Basically, the FDA cited General Mills for marketing Cheerios® as a cholesterol-reducing drug. I believe the FDA’s points are valid and factual, but I have to ask – Shouldn’t our agency watchdog be focusing greater attention on the operators of thousands of Web sites and

Counterfeit Insulin Needles Found in the UK

May 12, 2009

Counterfeit Insulin Needles Found in UK View Larger Map What: A batch of counterfeit insulin pen needles emulating those made by Novo Nordisk were discovered in the United Kingdom. According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in England, “the needles were not made by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of NovoFine® and do not comply with…

How Internet Search Engines Support Illegal Online Drug Sales

May 7, 2009

Did you know that Internet search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, claim to verify online pharmacies through But what good does it do? This site provides little to no security about the legitimacy of Internet drug sellers. Rogue online pharmacies continue to profit from the sale of counterfeit drugs, and at the same time Internet search engines profit from the advertisements on these non-verified pharmacies’ Web sites. Even more alarming is that Internet search engines are in no way held accountable for hosting and profiting off “online pharmacies” who distribute counterfeit drugs.

LEADERs in the Fight Against Counterfeit Drugs

April 13, 2009

In the past two weeks, the Partnership for Safe Medicines issued two SafeMeds Alerts about counterfeit insulin pen needles and herbal medication adulterated with dangerously high levels of undeclared pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom. It is tempting to disregard these alerts since the drugs were found in England, not the United States. But in today’s global environment, we are all at risk when these unsafe products move through the drug supply chain undetected.

Limiting Illegal Online Pharmacies Through International Cooperation

March 26, 2009

A recent U.S. study revealed that of 365 online pharmacies, only two were legitimate. So how can we realistically address this problem?

Nigeria-bound HIV/AIDS Drugs Seized in Netherlands

March 23, 2009

Nigeria-bound HIV/AIDS Drugs Seized in Netherlands View larger map What: On November 12, 2008, Dutch authorities seized a shipment of Indian-made abacavir—an antiretroviral drug for HIV/AIDS treatment—bound for Nigeria. The abacavir tablets were found to violate patent rules and were declared counterfeit; however it’s been disputed whether the drugs were actually counterfeit. The Financial Times reported that “dozens” of HIV patients were…

Thousands of Fake Pills Removed from UK Pharmacies

March 23, 2009

View larger map Thirty thousand packs of counterfeit life-saving drugs may have been consumed by National Health Service (NHS) patients, including drugs used to treat prostate cancer, strokes, heart conditions and schizophrenia. When: June 2007 Where: The United Kingdom How: According to reports by the BBC, reputable UK wholesalers were “duped by sophisticated counterfeits.” Who:  MHRA; National…

Counterfeit Drug Sellers – Small Penalties for Big-Time Offenses

March 12, 2009

The sale of counterfeit prescription drugs is neither harmless nor insignificant. Today, the illicit sale of counterfeit prescription drugs is outpacing the sale of street drugs as many dealers are finding it to be “more profitable” and “less risky.” Counterfeit prescription drugs and street drugs both endanger lives, yet, counterfeit drug sellers face significantly less penalties while making much more money (as much as 2,000 times the profit of crack or heroin). This is a tremendous public health concern around the world and on our domestic front.

Nigerian Children Killed by Contaminated Teething Medicine

February 23, 2009

Nigerian Children Killed by Contaminated Teething Medicine View larger map What: A toxic chemical mixed into a teething medicine for babies has killed at least 84 children in Nigeria as of February 16, 2009. The children died after taking My Pikin Baby Teething Mixture, a syrup for teething pain, according to Nigeria’s Health Ministry. Health…

Protecting Our Supply Chain from Counterfeit Drugs

February 19, 2009

In the fight against substandard and counterfeit drugs, we can’t forget that these unscrupulous businessmen and counterfeiters don’t just make fake prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, they also counterfeit the raw materials and ingredients used by legitimate manufactures.

NAFDAC destroys N24.25b counterfeit drugs in seven years

December 24, 2008

THE National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has in the last seven years, carried out 123 destruction exercises of counterfeit and substandard products valued at over N24.25 billion. According to the former Director General, Prof. Dora Akunyili, 45 convictions have been secured in respect of counterfeit drug related cases, while 60…

Counterfeit Drugs: Stay Informed Partnership for Safe Medicines

December 2, 2008

Counterfeit Drugs Whether you live in the United States, Russia, or Ghana, counterfeit drugs are a serious patient safety problem all around the globe. Not only do counterfeit drugs defraud consumers, they deny ill patients the therapies that can alleviate suffering and save lives. And in some cases, counterfeit drugs cause great harm and fatalities.…

International Cooperation Halts Counterfeit Drug Distribution Via Online Pharmacies

November 21, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

International cooperation is essential to curbing the widespread illicit sale of substandard, unapproved and counterfeit drugs.  Another essential step is shutting down rogue online pharmacies.

Kenya Fights Counterfeit Drugs

November 6, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Counterfeit drugs are a scourge that spans continents and patients everywhere.  Sadly however, some of the most vulnerable countries such as Kenya have been deeply impacted by the problem.  The World Health Organization reports that a survey performed by the National Quality Control Laboratories and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board found that almost 30 percent of drugs in Kenya are counterfeit, harming thousands of patients and representing a tremendous public health problem.  In addition, a 2006 estimate indicates that counterfeit drug sales account for approximately $130 million annually in sales.  Importantly, these fakes are believed to contribute to at least 200,000 of the 2.7 million deaths caused by malaria each year in Africa.

Protect Yourself From Counterfeit Drugs

October 30, 2008

Thomas T. Kubic

Counterfeit drugs are a rampant threat that easily cross boarders and target innocent people.  You can learn about this threat by visiting the Pharmaceutical Security Institute.  But how can you protect yourself from contaminated or counterfeit drugs finding their way into your medicine cabinet? 

Congress Joins the Battle Against Counterfeit Drugs

October 27, 2008

Signed into law last week, the PRO-IP Act is the most comprehensive IP enforcement legislation adopted by Congress in years. Not only does it increase the penalties for counterfeiting offenses that endanger public health and safety, it provides much-needed resources to at federal, state and local law enforcement levels. Additionally, the law creates the position…

Connecting Counterfeit Drugs to Fashion Fakes

October 20, 2008

Counterfeit Drugs and Baby Formula

October 2, 2008

Marv Shepherd, PhD

Four infants are dead and more than 54,000 children in China have suffered from kidney stones and kidney failure this past year as a result of baby formula and powdered milk tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastics, glue and is found in pesticides.  The toxin found its way into the milk products from more than 30 Chinese companies because of its ability to make the milk appear high in protein. 

Politics and Counterfeit Drugs

September 25, 2008

Currently, the United States has one of the safest drug supplies in the world because its pharmaceutical supply system is “closed” to importation. Once a drug is outside the strictly regulated distribution channel, there is no guarantee of its authenticity, effectiveness, or safety. We know from the recent incident in China of the deliberately contaminated…

Online Pharmacies and Prescriptions

September 18, 2008

Ghana: Country Moves to Ensure Safe Medicine

September 12, 2008

Ghanaians have been urged to exercise their civic responsibility by buying drugs at the right places to avoid more deadly incidents by traders in counterfeit products. The World Health Organisation (WHO), estimates that more than 30% of drugs could lead to the horrid healthcare crises that fake drugs often unleash. The rate of fake drugs…

International Efforts to Combat Counterfeit Drugs

September 11, 2008

The counterfeit drugs are a global dilemma touching all countries, including the United States.  However, in some areas of Africa, up to 30 percent of the medicines for sale are counterfeit drugs.  

FDB to stop increasing counterfeiting of medicines

September 10, 2008

The Food and Drugs Board, FDB, is considering the introduction of a new technology that will detect fake drug products from genuine ones. The technology will indicate codes on the products which will be verified later from the manufacturers. The Acting Deputy Chief Executive of the Board, Rev. Jonathan Martey, announced this in Accra at…

Consumer Protection Group Supports West African Anti-Counterfeit Drug Efforts

September 9, 2008

Partnership for Safe Medicines shares expertise with leaders to combat contraband and counterfeit drugs.

ACCRA, Ghana (Sept. 9, 2008) – To combat the increasing amounts of contraband and counterfeit drugs threatening public health, West African government officials, business leaders, and non-profit organizations gathered today for the Stakeholder Forum on Safe Medicines in Accra, Ghana.  The Partnership for Safe Medicines, a coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting consumers from counterfeit medicines, helped lead a discussion about how the region can work together to address this important health problem.

Consumer Protection Group Announces Principles for Drug Safety

September 4, 2008

Stopping Counterfeit Drugs at the Source

August 28, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Here at the Partnership for Safe Medicines, one of our core principles for drug safety is the need to unify in the fight against counterfeit drugs.  This week, we saw progress.