Developed world feeling sting of fake drugs

Growing counterfeit drug incidents in developed countries are grabbing more than their usual share of headlines. Last month, a British couple was convicted and jailed in a fake veterinary drug scheme that generated more revenue than legal sales of the same drugs in the U.K. (almost $10 million). The scheme was based on counterfeit and falsely labeled drugs sourced from India and resold through U.K. companies to farmers, stables, kennels and veterinary practices, Wired reports.

The case has fueled concerns about the quantity of counterfeit drugs that are contributing to the global rise in antibiotic-resistant livestock--as well as the human consumers of that meat, according to the article.

In the U.S., the FDA has warned women about fake Evital, a morning-after pill. The fake version may be unsafe for women to use, says Atlantic Drugs. The agency found the counterfeits were prevalent in some communities, and the safety concern is accompanied by the fake's ineffectiveness at avoiding unplanned pregnancies. They were discovered during routine import-entry review, the FDA said in the article.

Finally, as a result of a written agreement, EU customs officials are no longer entitled to seize shipments of generics in transit from India through the EU--mostly on their way to Latin America--because of existing patents. Officials can seize the shipments when there is "adequate evidence" the generics will likely make their way back to the EU, according to Securing Pharma.

When published, the agreement should settle long-standing Indian claims that the EU was deliberately using IP as a tool to force generics into a "counterfeits" category to keep the drugs out of circulation.

- see the Wired piece
- here's the morning-after pill story
- and here's Securing Pharma's report