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.

The Warning Signs of Illegal Online Pharmacies

August 22, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Why buy from a store when you can shop on the Internet?  Unfortunately, there are numerous illegal Web sites that will sell you contaminated or counterfeit drugs, unapproved products, the wrong product, or simply take your money and never deliver anything in return.

Out of Time

August 14, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer alert warning patients that two Baltimore pharmacies may have received either expired or possibly counterfeit drugs.  Earlier this year, New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo initiated legal action against CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies after a statewide investigation found it had sold expired products, including over-the-counter medications.

An Unexpected Fake in Los Angeles

August 11, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Botox treatment is one of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures on the market today.  With the promise to eliminate wrinkles and fine lines, more and more baby boomers are turning to this product to fight the signs of aging.  However, in addition to battling wrinkles, the makers of Botox now find themselves fighting the illicit business of counterfeit drugs.  

Getting Back to Basics: Use the Standard VIPPS Categories

August 7, 2008

Shabby Standards

July 25, 2008

Bryan A.  Liang, MD, PhD, JD 

Earlier this week, I talked about India's opposition to IMPACT's proposed definition of a counterfeit medicine.  Indian "experts" claimed it would hurt their generic drug industry's exports, and I asked just who these "experts" were protecting if the IMPACT's focus was only non-legitimate producers.  

Defining the Problem

July 22, 2008

Bryan A.  Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Often understanding a problem begins with a definition.  The World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), meets each May to discuss public health issues and determine future WHO policies.  This year, WHO's constituted International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) introduced a resolution to update WHO's definition of a counterfeit medicine.  IMPACT proposed changing the definition from "deliberately and fraudulently" mislabeling a medicine's identity and source to the "false representation" of a medical product's identity, history or source.

Who’s Accountable

July 17, 2008

James N. Class, PhD

SafeMeds Q2 Postcard 06.16 (front) sm.jpg

Ryan HaightMarcia Bergeron.  They paid with their wallets for diverted and counterfeit drugs.  They also paid with their lives.  

Fake anti-hypertension, pain-reliever drugs seized

July 12, 2008

MANILA, Philippines — Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) seized hundreds of counterfeit anti-hypertension and pain-relieving medicine in raids conducted in Manila and Caloocan City recently. Raided were Acebedo General Hospital on General Luis Street, Bagbaguin, Caloocan City, and Longlife Pharmaceutical Inc. on Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila. By Tina G. Santos 12 July…

Spammers Beware

July 3, 2008

Thomas T. Kubic

Earlier this month, the Los Angels Times published a story that explored the extremely profitable relationship between spammers and drug counterfeiters.  For some time now, spammers have made money by sending countless emails to the public and then charging the credit cards of those who responded for products which never existed.  In some case, the spammers sold that credit card information to other criminals. 

Partnership for Safe Medicines Supports Stronger Online Pharmacy Regulation

June 25, 2008

Partnership for Safe Medicines Supports Stronger Online Pharmacy Regulation

June 25, 2008

The Threat Keeps Rising

June 25, 2008

Thomas T. Kubic

On a daily basis, many individuals unknowingly risk death or serious injury to their health by taking counterfeit drugs.  As executive director of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), I see first-hand how counterfeiters thrive in countries where the anti-counterfeiting laws are weak; the drug regulatory agencies are underfunded and understaffed; and legal sanctions are ineffective.

Principles for Drug Safety

June 12, 2008

If Congress and the FDA truly want to avoid another deadly incident of failed drug safety, our policy makers must take this opportunity to address the other vulnerabilities threatening the safety of our prescription drugs. The Partnership for Safe Medicines has developed three core principles to support quality assurance programs and establish a drug distribution…

A Step in the Right Direction

May 22, 2008

Confusing Price With Safety

May 15, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

We all try to do our best, but even those in public service don't always get it right.  This seems to be the case when it comes to drug importation.  Supporters think that simply because drugs are purchased from "safe" countries as Canada and Britain, they are actually made there and are subject to strict health regulations and oversight.  But this is a dangerous misconception.

New Law Stops Criminals Who Sell Fake Drugs

May 14, 2008

Partnership for Safe Medicines Applauds FDA Reform Bill

May 1, 2008

Partnership for Safe Medicines Supports Change in Foreign Inspection Process

April 29, 2008

Ghana: Media Launch of Short Film

April 25, 2008

The Goethe-Institut and Pedigree last week Thursday, 17th of April, 2008 launched a short film to kickstart a campaign, against the circulation of fake drugs on the Ghanaian market. The event, held at the inner court of the Goethe-Institut premises at Cantonments, attracted practitioners from the media, diplomats, representatives of civil society, notably the Christian…

Consumer Protection Group Issues Statement About FDA’s Ability to Enforce Safety Regulations

April 24, 2008

Partnership for Safe Medicines Issues Statement About FDA Foreign Drug Inspection Program

April 22, 2008

Partnership for Safe Medicines Issues Statement About FDA Foreign Drug Inspection Program

April 22, 2008

Counterfeit Chinese made malaria medicines putting lives at risk

April 21, 2008

Fake Drugs Scam is Frightening

April 18, 2008

A EURO MP has welcomed moves to protect people from a multi-billion pound counterfeit drugs industry which is feared to kill half a million people each year. Criminals are plying people suffering from cancer and heart disease as well as psychiatric illnesses with fake medicine which is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. 18 April…

Heparin Update: 62 Suspected U.S. Fatalities, 2 Upcoming Hearings

April 17, 2008

Marv Shepherd, PhD

The heparin fallout continues.  As an update to our March 13 post, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now reports 62, not 19, suspicious deaths in the United States linked to the blood thinner heparin, most of which occurred in December, January and February.  According to an article in the New York Times, investigations continue into whether the deaths were caused by the Chinese contaminant.

Illicit: The Dark Trade

April 17, 2008

The Partnership for Safe Medicines urges you to watch the groundbreaking film, Illicit: The Dark Trade, premiering nationwide tonight on PBS.  Based on the best-selling book by Dr. Moiss Nam, Illicit exposes the staggering impact counterfeiting and piracy has on the world economy, jobs, and consumer health and safety. 

Watch the Trailer
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Federal Efforts to Combat Fake Meds

April 10, 2008

Regulating Online Pharmacies

March 27, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

According to some sources, there are at least 1,000 Web sites selling prescription drugs. Of course, not all of which are legitimate.  Considering the sheer number of hits an Internet search for "online pharmacy" returns, it's not surprising that the U.S. Senate has put the Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2007 on its legislative calendar.  

Safe Alternatives for Reducing Healthcare Spending

March 20, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

Healthcare spending and prices are on the rise—again.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that overall healthcare spending in America will reach $4.3 trillion annually by 2017. Given that healthcare costs are increasing at nearly three times the rate of inflation, it's no wonder Americans are seeking ways to keep their healthcare costs low. 

Heparin Havoc Continues

March 14, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

It looks as though the problems from China-sourced heparin are far from over.  An unknown substance, similar in chemical makeup to heparin, has been found in batches of the blood thinner produced by U.S.-based Baxter International and Germany-based Rotexmedica. 

Meeting of the Minds

March 11, 2008

Bryan A. Liang, MD, PhD, JD

It's an interesting phenomenon.  We have general agreement that fake medicines put people in harms way – but an increasing number of these drugs are entering the world's markets.  In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that up to 10 percent of all medicines are counterfeits, rising to 25 percent in some countries.

Sierra Leone: Fake Drugs Intercepted in Kono

March 7, 2008

Police personnel at Motema police station yesterday arrested a driver with four cartons of assorted pharmaceutical drugs at Mambodu junction in Kono district. Mustapha Kamara and his vehicle with registration number ADA 262 was stopped by the police for searching when the drugs were discovered. Kamara was being led to the station when a passenger…

Rights watch raises concern over President Jammeh’s HIV/AIDS “cure”

March 5, 2008

Dakar, Senegal – The United Nations and its member states are failing to address serious threats to life and health posed by the promotion of unproven AIDS 'cures' and by counterfeit antiretroviral drugs," a global rights body, Human Rights Watch, stated in a recently released dossier. In the dossier, titled "Dangerous medicines: Unproven AIDS cures…

Nigeria: Campaign On Danger of Fake Drugs Kicks-Off in Jabi Motor Park

February 29, 2008

The evil of fake drugs have been described as worse than the combined scourge of malaria, HIV/AIDS and armed robbery put together because they can be prevented or they kill few at a time but fake drugs kill en mass. Secretary of the FCT Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs, Hajia Hauwa Kulu Ibrahim,…

Today’s Subcommittee Hearing

February 28, 2008

Today the House Appropriation's Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies held a hearing on drug safety. You can view the Partnership for Safe Medicines' thoughts on the matter here.

Partnership for Safe Medicines Echoes Concerns Raised in House Subcommittee Hearing

February 28, 2008

Nigeria: Fake Drugs More Vicious Than HIV/Aids – Task Force

February 24, 2008

In its determination to eradicate the sale of fake drugs in the country, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Taskforce on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs (TFC&FD) has called on the public to desist from buying drugs from unregistered pharmacists stressing that "fake drugs are more vicious than the scourge of malaria and HIV/AIDS." Making the call…

Burkina Faso: Government Inaction Spurs Consumption of Counterfeit Drugs

February 21, 2008

One in five pharmaceutical drugs bought in Ouagadougou is counterfeit and sold on the street with no prescription and no expiry date, according to the Ministry of Health. Despite laws banning the practice, the government has lost control of the industry and the unregulated drug market continues to expand, with damaging health consequences, fear doctors…

Kenya: Citizens At Highest Risk of Taking Fake Drugs

February 15, 2008

Kenyans have been listed among African consumers at highest risk of exposure to counterfeit drugs. Findings of a recent study on the drugs market presented at the ongoing pan-African conference in South Africa indicates that many African governments lack the necessary mechanisms to curb the sale of counterfeit medicines. "The responsibility of combating counterfeits should…

African Stakeholders Meet on Counterfeit Drugs

February 14, 2008

An international conference to discuss counterfeit medicines in Africa, started this week in Johannesburg. The aim of the conference, which is sponsored by Pfizer, is for representatives from sub-Saharan countries to discuss threats that counterfeit medicines and unregistered generics pose for the safety of patients in this region and to develop joint plans of action…

Kenya: Crack Down On Makers of Fake Drugs

January 10, 2008

UN health and crime agencies say counterfeit drugs are killing people from China to Canada and they "promote the development of new strains of viruses, parasites and bacteria … for example in the case of malaria or HIV." And in many countries their manufacture and distribution is not even illegal. The United Nations Inter-regional Crime…

The Bahamas – Not Just a Vacation Spot Anymore

December 17, 2007

The ongoing New York Times series "A Toxic Pipeline" continues to shed light on the complex routes that counterfeit drugs take before being sold by Internet pharmacies, many of which purport legitimacy with Canadian, British or Australian websites.

IMPACT-ing Prescription Drug Safety

December 12, 2007

In February 2006, the World Health Organization launched the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) to build coordinated efforts between countries to address the great deal of harm from fake medicines around the globe.

They’re Not Going to Take It

November 28, 2007

Recognizing the growing threat of the availability of counterfeit drugs worldwide, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Products Agency (MHRA) – Britain's version of the FDA – last week published its first Anti-Counterfeiting Strategy. The strategy sets out the MHRA's approach to combating this threat for the next three years, including the launch of a new 24-hour hotline for reporting suspected counterfeit medicines and devices.

Taking the Cake

November 20, 2007

In recent weeks, we've heard about a faked FEMA news conference and planted questions on the presidential campaign trail, but a report out of China about a fake government website takes the cake. A story from Reuters earlier this month reports that sellers of counterfeit drugs have gone as far as setting up a fake…

Time for action on fake medicine

November 19, 2007

A recent newspaper headline caught my eye. It said that in some poor countries a staggering 60 percent of medicines are fake. Thankfully, the World Health Organization, now led by our own very able Mrs Margaret Chan (she was previously Hong Kong’s Director of Health), is trying hard to control the scandalous trade in counterfeit…

Partnership for Safe Medicines Commends New Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement

October 25, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 24, 2007) — The Partnership for Safe Medicines commends yesterday's announcement by the U.S. Trade Representative of a new six-country Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The purpose of ACTA is to step up enforcement efforts against international counterfeiters.

Fake drugs worth Rs 5.3 cr seized

September 22, 2007

HYDERABAD: The Drugs Control Administration (DCA) has seized Rs 5.36 crore worth of spurious, sub-standard and illegal drugs from godowns and industrial units in the state in the last few weeks. Ironically, Rs 4.80 crore worth of drugs were manufactured without a valid licence. “A special drive was taken up by the DCA from February…

Third Chinese drug official charged in corruption scandal

June 25, 2007

China’s resolve to clean up corruption in its pharma industry has intensified as the former assistant to the already-condemned-to-death former drug chief has now been charged. Cao Wenzhuan has become the third former State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) official to be charged since this corruption scandal first broke last year. By Kirsty Barnes 25…

Millions Vulnerable to Counterfeit Drugs

June 10, 2006

Rick Roberts knows first-hand about counterfeit drugs. Roberts, an AIDS patient, questioned his pharmacist after injecting himself with a drug that was supposed to help him keep weight on. Almost immediately, he felt painful stinging. He soon found out that the medication was counterfeit. “For me, the most present problem was not knowing and having…

Pharmacies suspected as Internet pill mills

May 25, 2006

Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration on Tuesday raided two area pharmacies suspected of dispensing drugs based on illegal prescriptions obtained over the Internet. Woody Pharmacy in Mooresville and Woody Pharmacy-Waterside in Denver were closed by the N.C. Board of Pharmacy, and licenses of four pharmacists were suspended. KAREN GARLOCH24…

Roche issues tips to avoid Tamiflu fakes

May 12, 2006

NUTLEY, N.J., May 8 (UPI) — Roche on Monday released guidelines to help consumers avoid fake Tamiflu, the anti-viral effective against bird flu. Among its anti-counterfeit pointers –which can be found at– the Swiss firm said people should be particularly careful when purchasing the treatment on the Internet, be wary of drugs offered for sale without a prescription…

Partnership For Safe Medicines Joins FDA Counterfeit Alert Network

May 9, 2006

Pharmacy Expert Says Internet is Key to Fighting Counterfeiters Worldwide

Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2006) � The Partnership for Safe Medicines, a coalition of patient, physician, pharmacist, university, industry and professional organizations, today announced that its SafeMeds Alert System has become a part of the Food and Drug Administration�s (FDA) Counterfeit Alert Network.


FDA Consumer Safety Alert

December 10, 2002

10 Drugs Not To Purchase Over the Internet