Counterfeit Drugs on Rise, Pose Global Threat -- WHO
May 25, 2010
Counterfeit versions of drugs are increasingly finding their way into the consumer market, according to the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Known incidents of counterfeit medicines last year numbered 1,693, an increase of 7 percent over the previous year, according to the Geneva-based International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations. The group's members include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi-Aventis.
Counterfeit treatments for diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS can increase the problem of drug resistance among those affected, said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. "For a patient, any medicine with compromised safety, efficacy or quality is dangerous," she said.
However, a Brazilian representative charged that major brand-name pharmaceutical companies are using the push against counterfeit drugs as cover to undermine competition from manufacturers of legitimate generics. "What we object to is a group of private companies, with the help of the [WHO] secretariat, waging war in this organization against generic medicines," ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo said in a speech.
Patient safety, not commercial competition, is behind the campaign against counterfeit drugs, responded representatives of research and development-oriented pharmaceutical companies.
05.20.2010; Stephanie Nebehay
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