Posted on September 22, 2010 by Patients and Patents
On its official blog, Google says that it has filed a civil lawsuit against advertisers it believes has deliberately broken its rules in regards to obtaining prescription medication. Scores of online pharmacies have set up shop and offer to illegally sell prescription medication over the Internet.
In recent years, we have noticed a marked increase in the number of rogue pharmacies, as well an increasing sophistication in their methods. This has meant that despite our best efforts, a small percentage of pharma ads from these rogue companies is still appearing on Google.
Rogue pharmacies are bad for our users, for legitimate online pharmacies and for the entire e-commerce industry—so we are going to keep investing time and money to stop these kinds of harmful practices.
– Google blog posting
Last year, Google filed a similar lawsuit against “Google Money” scammers (source: Mashable.com). As Google continues to rise in importance to brands and companies, keeping its search results and advertisement sanitized remains crucial for maintaining Google’s reputation.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Counterfeit drugs, Public health | Tagged: internet pharmacies, patient safety, Public health | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 20, 2010 by Patients and Patents
As reported yesterday by Reuters (Counterfeit drugs on rise, pose global threat: WHO), World Health Officials warned that the production and sale of counterfeit drugs is on the rise in rich and poor countries, with more unwary consumers buying them over the Internet.
The WHO experts added that fake or substandard versions of medicines are often hidden in cargos taking circuitous routes to mask their country of origin as part of criminal activity worth billions. (more…)
Filed under: Counterfeit drugs, World Health Organization | Tagged: Africa, Counterfeit drugs, counterfeit medicines, internet pharmacies, World Health Assembly, World Health Organization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 28, 2010 by Patients and Patents
European parliamentarians voted yesterday in favor (51-0) of including Internet drug sales in European Union (EU) legislation aimed at preventing counterfeit medicines from entering the supply chain.
Under the proposal, Internet pharmacies would have to obtain special authorizations in EU member states where they are allowed to operate. Their sites would be required to bear a EU logo to indicate that they are linked to an authorized pharmacy, and they would be listed in a European database.
Mandatory safety features such as seals or serial numbers would be required for prescription medicines, although this obligation could be waived, for example in the case of generics, subject to an assessment by the European Commission.
They have also called for stronger sanctions against drug counterfeiters, supporting proposals from the Council of Europe to make the trade a criminal offence.
The European Parliament is due to vote on the Falsified Medicines Directive in July.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Counterfeit drugs | Tagged: counterfeit medicines, EU, Europe, internet pharmacies, patient safety, Public health | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 17, 2010 by Patients and Patents
Western Europeans spend an estimated 10.5 billion euros ($14.3 billion) a year on illicitly sourced medicines, many of them counterfeit, according to a recent survey. Overall, 21 percent of 14,000 people surveyed in 14 states said they had bought medicines illicitly, with the rate ranging from 38 and 37 percent in Germany and Italy, respectively, to 12 and 10 percent in Britain and the Netherlands.
Tests conducted by the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines indicated that 62 percent of medicines purchased online were fake or substandard. Counterfeit medicines often contain the wrong or even toxic ingredients and are a growing health threat worldwide, especially in poor countries, according to the World Health Organization.
Critics argue that the industry is keen to play up the issue in order to back its demands for tighter controls on medicine supply and packaging, thereby protecting its brands.
“Does industry have a vested interest in this? Absolutely. But I think society should have an even bigger interest in getting this stopped,” said Jim Thomson, chairman of the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines. “Counterfeit medicine is costing the industry a huge amount of money but it’s costing healthcare providers a lot more.”
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Posted on January 28, 2010 by Patients and Patents
The global sale of online counterfeit drugs is likely reach $75 billion in 2010, according to research by UK, Swedish and American academics.
The research, which covers more than 50 studies published 1995-2009, provides an overview of the scale of counterfeit internet drugs and shows a 92% increase over the last five years. It also estimates that 90% of fake medicines are sold online.
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Posted on November 5, 2009 by Patients and Patents
Federal authorities are warning Canadians not to buy unauthorized products from the Internet or other sources that claim to fight the H1N1 virus. The Competition Bureau and Health Canada issued a statement Wednesday saying that only three products are authorized for use against the virus: the vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline called Arepanrix, which is available at flu clinics and doctors’ offices, and the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.
“Taking unapproved or counterfeit drugs could pose serious risks to health,” the advisory says. “These products may contain ingredients not listed on the label or dangerous additives, and could cause serious side effects.”
The warning says vaccines should only come from a qualified health care provider, and antivirals should only be purchased with a prescription from a health care practitioner who has examined the patient.
The advisory says there are legitimate Canadian Internet pharmacies, but consumers need to be aware of the risks associated with buying drugs online.
Health Canada says it will monitor the Internet and take action against websites selling unauthorized products for the treatment or prevention of the H1N1 flu virus, or any other health condition.
200,000 doses of the unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine called Panvax have also been imported from Australia for use in pregnant women.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Counterfeit drugs, North America, Public health | Tagged: Canada, counterfeit medicines, H1N1, internet pharmacies, Swine flu, vaccine | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 9, 2009 by Patients and Patents
TIME Magazine recently published an interesting article on the trade in counterfeit medicines and an initiative fostered by former French President Jacques Chirac to combat this epidemic. The proposed Cotonou declaration would be the first step of a worldwide campaign aimed at raising awareness of the problem and persuading governments to impose tougher penalties and improve routine testing of medications. The larger goal is to establish an international convention on counterfeit drugs. Read the full article below:
How To Stop The Counterfeit-Medicine Drugs Trade
The next time you’re tempted to buy Viagra, Lipitor or some other medication online, ponder this: there’s a high likelihood that what you buy will be fake. The pill or vaccine may contain a much smaller dosage than stated, or it may lack any active ingredient whatsoever. Worst of all, it could be toxic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 50% of drugs sold online have either been falsified or altered in some way. And Internet sales are just the tip of a much bigger problem. Falsified medicines are especially prevalent in developing countries; the WHO estimates that up to 30% of drugs sold in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America are fake, including ones used to fight diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. (more…)
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Counterfeit drugs, Public health | Tagged: Counterfeit drugs, counterfeit medicines, internet pharmacies | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 17, 2009 by Michael McDonough
A recent article by the San Diego Union-Tribune raises concerns over online pharmacies. According to the piece, a vast majority of online pharmacies may not be compliant with US Federal standards. Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), was quoted as saying, “We have found that 92 percent of Web-site pharmacies are illegal or in violation of FDA regulations.” In order for online pharmacies to be considered legitimate by the FDA they must be located within the US, licensed within its home state, and not fill orders without a written doctor’s prescription.
Moreover, the article warns that the quality and efficacy of drugs purchased at illegitimate online pharmacies can be questionable at best. Common issues include counterfeit, expired, mislabeled, adulterated, or contaminated drugs. The majority of such online pharmacies are located outside of the US, and though they claim to be importing mostly Canadian drugs, this is likely not the case. An FDA investigation in 2005 revealed that nearly half of the imported drugs used to fill online pharmacy orders originated from India, Israel, Costa Rica, and Vanuatu —not Canada. Additionally, 85% of the imported drugs claiming to be Canadian actually came from 27 separate countries.
It is important to keep in mind that not only is it illegal for US citizens to import prescription drugs, despite indications from some online pharmacies, but many of these imports stem from developing nations with more lax prescription drug regulations and enforcement, leading to an increased probability that what you receive may not be what you ordered. In addition to these concerns, FDA spokesman Christopher Kelly was quoted as saying, “The FDA will detain or refuse entry (into the U.S.) of illegal, unapproved products that it finds.”
The moral of the story is do not play with your health; avoid illegitimate online pharmacies with prices too good to be true. For a list of NABP accredited online pharmacies or to report online pharmacies you suspect could be unlawful please visit their website at: http://www.nabp.net/.
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Posted on April 21, 2009 by Patients and Patents
BBC News reported that one in four general practitioners in Britain said they had treated patients for adverse reactions to medicines bought online. A further 8% suspected they had treated side-effects of internet-bought drugs, the snapshot survey of 420 doctors carried out by GP magazine found.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP in west London and spokeswoman for the Royal College of GPs, commented that “Surveys looking at many online medications suggest that the proportion of counterfeits is enormously high and that many of them contain very worrying ingredients.”
David Pruce, director of policy at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society stated that “anyone who self medicates and buys their medicines from internet sites could be in danger of receiving counterfeit or substandard medicines.
“At best these will be a waste of money, at worst they can kill.”
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Posted on May 26, 2008 by Dr. D. Wayne Taylor
I totally agree with the article by kmlybecker below. The seizure of illegal counterfeit pharmaceuticals by U.S. Customs increased 660% from 2006 to 2007. According to these same authorities, 80% of the counterfeit drugs originates in China with the rest mostly coming from Pakistan, Egypt, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Half of all internet drug sales are counterfeit where the internet “pharmacy’s” address is not identified.
Last week it was reported in Geneva that 41% of the drugs being distributed and administered in Nigeria are counterfeit - over half of which are unsafe, according to WHO. So for every person that benefits from medicine in that country, another person is being placed at extreme risk – all in the name of greed.
Counterfeiting is cheaper than, yet just as profitable as, the illegal narcotics trade – with far lesser penalties! For internet pharmacy customers in developed countries, buyer beware. For poor people in developing countries who are unwittingly administered counterefit drugs, those behind such enterprises are guilty of assault if not murder.
The World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization need to use whatever levers of persuasion they may have to motivate non-compliant countries to institute and enforce rigorous intellectual property protection laws and stamp out counterfeiting before the effects from unsafe drugs becomes a global epidemic. If the countries that harbour pharamaceutical counterfeiters wish to play in the international arena then they should be held accountable on this issue and forced to put patient safety before ill-gotten profits.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Counterfeit drugs | Tagged: counterfeit medicines, internet pharmacies, World Health Organization | Leave a Comment »