The Flood of Counterfeit Drugs

Despite a flood of counterfeit drugs, there has been minimal impact in the US because our system is closed.

PhRMA StaffFebruary 14, 2011

Run an internet search of "counterfeit drugs." You'll be stunned by how many stories there are about the growing worldwide threat of counterfeit medicines. Criminal networks around the globe are looking to make a quick buck by selling dangerous counterfeit drugs - including counterfeit cancer and heart disease medicines foisted on unsuspecting consumers by many rogue Internet sites claiming to be in Canada.

Unlike Europe or Asia, there's been no explosion of counterfeit medicines in the U.S., and here's why: our drug supply system is a closed system.

Why is it closed especially when we live in a global economy where we can buy almost any product from other countries? Here's why: Back in the 1980's when the U.S. had an open system problems became apparent among people using imported medicines. For instance, women taking birth control were getting pregnant. After many complaints and investigations, it was discovered that their pills were counterfeit and imported from a foreign country. Congress acted to prevent this from happening again by passing the Prescription Drug Marketing Act. The law closed the U.S. medicine supply system, preventing foreign counterfeit drugs from reaching American patients.

Today, some want to again open the U.S. system which could potentially expose patients to foreign counterfeit medicines. But we've been here before, putting untold patients' lives at risk.

Check out The Partnership for Safe Medicines to keep up on the fight against counterfeit medicines.

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