Pfizer Addresses Illegal Drug Issue

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Pfizer Inc continues to fightagainst counterfeiting and the sale ofillegal unapproved drugs. Accordingto a company official, the US Departmentof Justice's crackdown on theinternational sales of illegal and unapprovedpharmaceuticals over theInternet is a "major step forward" inmaintaining a safe and secure drug-distributionsystem. That governmentagency recently reported the arrest of16 suspects and seized more than $6million in conjunction with a multi-countryeffort to address this growingproblem.

"More and more often we're seeingcounterfeit or otherwise illegal medicinesreaching unsuspecting patients.It's becoming a real threat to publichealth that could become an evengreater problem if legislation is passedsupporting the importation of pharmaceuticalproducts from other countries,"said Jeff Kindler, Pfizer's vicechairman and general counsel, in astatement.

He emphasized that illegal orcounterfeit drugs may be manufacturedin unregulated settings wherethe strict standards required by theFDA are not met. Through its owninvestigation, Pfizer has discoveredthat consumers may even receivemedications that they did not order.The company does not support legalizingimportation as an option tomake the drug-distribution systemsafer. Kindler said that doing sowould only make existing problemsworse by considerably weakening theFDA's ability to safely regulate pharmaceuticalsentering the UnitedStates from other countries.

In its efforts to tackle counterfeitand illegal drugs, Pfizer's ongoing initiativeshave included the following:

  • Initiation of legal action againston-line "pharmacies" and cooperationwith law-enforcement agenciesto block sales of counterfeitPfizer products
  • Coordination with government,law enforcement, and other agenciesto stop the importation ofpharmaceutical products and toseize those products
  • Implementation of public educationprograms to inform consumersabout safely purchasingmedicines through the Internet
  • Testing of hundreds of productsannually to determine their authenticity