France's Chirac plots anti-counterfeiting push

Pharma has found a friend in Jacques Chirac. France's former president is launching an initiative to criminalize counterfeit medicines. According to the Financial Times, Chirac plans to today unveil a declaration signed by African and Asian heads of state, calling for a United States convention to fight fake meds.

Among the measures the declaration requests are new, tough penalties for counterfeiters; stronger manufacturing and distribution controls; and a campaign to boost awareness of the problem. "Informal co-operation is not enough," Chirac told the FT. "Fake medicines have become a real market that is poised to overtake that for narcotics. ...An international convention ratified by the UN will provide a framework to attack criminal networks.

Drugmakers have been agitating for help in fighting pharma fakers. The problem is especially acute in Africa and Asia; you'll recall the recent case of Chinese counterfeiters shipping fake meds to Africa under a "Made in India" label. And recent studies have shown that the majority of antimalarials and some other essential meds in the two regions are fake.

- see the FT story