A round up of news stories from the world of fake drugs:
A new Federal Task Force has been set up by authorities in Nigeria, aimed at boosting the fight against fake drugs. While measures against counterfeits are generally to be welcomed, it is worrying to learn that the group is also intended "to make available at all times to the Nigerian populace adequate supplies of drugs." This may be a noble goal, but hints at government production of medicines, or at least political support for "local production." Such measures are counterproductive, as explained in the Nigerian press on several recent occasions.
To Kenya where AIDS activists will know next month if they’re successful in their case against new anti-counterfeiting legislation. They have claimed that the legislation could block high quality generics. The outcome of the case will be intriguing- its very existence is a warning to authorities to be very careful and specific when composing new anti-counterfeiting legislation. Patent-infringement is a separate issue to trademark-infringement and other forms of counterfeiting, and should be treated separately.
That said, some people are still denying that copying a trademark has anything to do with counterfeiting. In India, for example, ministers will meet with representatives from the generics industry to continue talks on amending the definition of "spurious" medicines.
In Argentina, meanwhile, the saga over the fake drugs scandal continues, with the judge of the case being criticised for comments made to the media. For those unaware, this case concerns a fake drugs racket involving trade union heads and leading political figures.
An interesting story in the US tells of an increase in thefts of pharmaceuticals. It occurs to us that this is a problem which could potentially be solved by serialisation technologies. A company could tell which batches have been stolen, and mark them as stolen on their database. The stolen goods would then be detected by any pharmacists duped into buying the stolen goods, and the criminals would hopefully be caught.
And finally, I recommend this post on the excellent Securing Pharma website, which reports on a new, cheap drug-testing device which could help stop fakes in poor countries. Who said the blogosphere is full of repeated content?
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