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Communication / Conference: Fighting counterfeit drugs - A new study carried out by Sanofi in Latin America shows high awareness, but concern for dangers is mixed

Latin America - 17 May 2017


Sanofi has been involved for nearly 10 years in preventing and fighting fake medicines. The most affected countries are in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where distribution channel controls are more easily evaded and counterfeit drugs can represent up to 30% of the market.

Internet has also become a major vector for counterfeit trafficking. One out of two medicines sold on websites concealing their physical address are counterfeit.

As part of the 2017 Year of France Colombia, Sanofi, as a partner, carried out a study on the perception of counterfeit medicines in Latin America: Read the press release and the study results.

Legislation: Burkina Faso signs the Medicrime Convention

Burkina Faso - 16 February 2017

On February 16th, 2017, Burkina Faso was the 27th State to sign the « Medicrime Convention » (Convention of the Council of Europe on counterfeit medical products and similar offences threatening public health). This Convention is the only international tool criminalizing the counterfeiting of medical products and similar offences that might have an effect on patients’ health.

Communication / Conference: A death due to counterfeit anti-cancer drug in the United States

United States - 02 February 2017

The Partnership for Safe Medicines

In 2011, a woman died in Arizona of advanced stage lung cancer. She was treated with counterfeit Avastin. In a Danish documentary “Lethal Fake Medicine / Medicin der Dræber”, FDA-OCI investigator Dan Burke describes what happened to her:

“This is a case involving counterfeit Avastin, which is a cancer medication. That case really started with a victim, a woman who went into an oncology clinic and had a reaction to the Avastin. And we come to find out it wasn’t Avastin at all, it was labeled Altzuan, which is a Turkish version, and we found out that it did not contain the active pharmaceutical ingredient.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided the doctor’s office which they determined was water and mold. The doctor was informed that she had purchased counterfeit drugs.

In January 2014, Ozkan Semizoglu and Sabahaddin Akman of Ozay Pharmaceuticals were sentenced to 30 months in prison for their role in delivering fake cancer drugs to illicit suppliers based in Canada.

Communication / Conference: Hospitals treated children with counterfeit chemotherapy drugs in Mexico

Mexico - 27 January 2017

The Partnership for Safe Medicines

An investigation into the corruption of former Governor Javier Duarte has uncovered allegations that children with cancer were treated in state-run hospitals in Veracruz with counterfeit chemotherapy medicines due to budget shortfalls and lack of resources caused by his administration. The BBC reports, that when tested, the counterfeit chemotherapy drugs came back as an inert compound. It was essentially distilled water.

Current Governor Miguel Angel Yunes Linares said, “This seems to us a brutal crime, an attempt against the lives of the children.” Authorities have lab tests results that were performed by Roche Laboratories dating back to 2010 to prove the use of fake chemotherapy drugs. According to Telesur, Prosecutors allege that Duarte embezzled or misspent as much as US $2 billion since he took office nearly six years ago.

An investigation is underway and Governor Yunes Linares has said a legal complaint will be filed when it is completed.

Communication / Conference: A new interception operation in 16 countries in Africa allows the seizure of 113 million illicit pharmaceutical products

International - 20 January 2017

January 20th, 2017 - IRACM and WCO

On January 20, 2017, IRACM (International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines) and WCO (World Customs Organization) organized a media breakfast in Paris to unveil the results of ACIM operation (Action against Counterfeit and Illicit Medicines) and presented the ongoing evolutions of traffickers’ practices such as fraud routes, concealment methods, or classes of medicines. This is a new record seizure of 113 million illicit and potentially dangerous pharmaceutical products which took place in September 2016.

Operation ACIM mobilized 16 African customs administrations over a ten-day period, from 5 to 14 September 2016, to inspect simultaneously, in the main ports on the continent, cargoes identified as likely to contain illicit or counterfeit pharmaceutical products posing a dangerous threat to local populations. Most treatments were: antimalarial drugs, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and analgesics, as well as gastro-intestinal medicines.

ACIM Operation

Internet: Fake ads removed by Google

International - 17 January 2017

In 2016, Google removed over 1.7 billion ads worldwide, and banned more than 200 websites from the company’s AdSense network, due to the growth of misleading content. The company reported that it disabled over 68 million ads in 2016 for healthcare violations, and specifically limits the promotions of pharmaceutical drugs on their AdSense network. Their AdSense policy states that ads cannot contain content related to the online sale of prescription drugs or the sale of unapproved supplements.

Legislation: New rules regarding the sale of drugs by online pharmacies to come into effect in Russia

Russia - 12 January 2017

The new rules for the sale of drugs by online pharmacies will come into force in October 2017 according to a document published by the Ministry of Health on the official portal of legal information. The new amendments added to the law aim at combating counterfeit products and must also help controlling the pharmaceuticals prescriptions.

It is currently is forbidden to sell drugs online in Russia, but the legalization of this market segment is scheduled for October 2017.

Legislation: A new law approved to combat counterfeiting in the United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates - 02 January 2017

A new law aimed at fighting against counterfeit goods and commercial fraud was approved by United Arab Emirates autorities in December 2016. The law notably empowers the court to order confiscation or destruction of food, medical drugs, crops and tools, and anyone deceiving or attempting to deceive another party by fraud of such products may be punished.
The law takes effect immediately. The maximum sentence can be up to 2 years imprisonment and a fine of up to 1 million dirahmas of UAE, or more than US$272,000.



Fight the fakes