In 2007, the UK health regulator warned that counterfeit Plavix (the blood thinner marketed by Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb) had been smuggled into the country. Some shipments arrived in French livery cartons with an overlabel applied by a parallel distributor; others had been repacked into English cartons. The fakes had genuine lot numbers used by Sanofi and BMS; the original lots had been supplied to France in French livery.
Some argue that parallel trade--the legal European practice of repackaging and reselling drugs imported from countries where prices are low for sale in countries where prices are higher--contributes to counterfeit traffic.
The erectile-dysfunction treatments Viagra, Levitra and Cialis are among the most counterfeited drugs. Pfizer has taken to combating the issue itself by hiring its own private investigative teams to track down counterfeiters. The drug giant estimates it has managed to keep 58 million counterfeit pills off the market since 2004 and has scored several high-profile prosecutions.