Last Thursday a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives jointly introduced a bicameral bill that would significantly increase the criminal penalties for drug counterfeiting to as much as 20 years in prison, as reported by Phil Taylor in SecuringPharma (see the article for the details). The house bill is called H. R. 3468, The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act. The group of legislators include U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA). Not surprisingly the responses from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Pfizer were swift and supportive.
Raising the penalties for counterfeiting drugs to the point where they adequately reflect the widespread harm they can cause the public is a very good thing. It should have the effect of making people think twice about selling counterfeit drugs to Americans through the internet or attempting to introduce them into the legitimate supply chain (brick-and-mortar and legitimate internet pharmacies). It may even cause more people in the legitimate supply chain to Continue reading STEP #1: Raise Penalties For Drug Crimes To Reflect The Widespread Harm They Can Inflict
If you are a regular reader of RxTrace but you still haven’t read Fortune Magazine’s recent article, “Drug Theft Goes Big” by Katherine Eban, then I suggest that you stop reading this essay right now and spend the next 15 minutes absorbing her article carefully. And then return here for my analysis. It’s that good and that important.
Many of you will remember Katherine Eban as the author of the excellent book “Dangerous Doses, A True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters and the Contamination of America’s Drug Supply”. See my comments on the book here where I point out that a lot has changed since the events that are documented so well in the book.
The new Fortune article is a great update on what drug supply chain criminals have been up to since “Dangerous Doses” was published back in 2005. The greatest thing about the article is Continue reading Lessons from “Drug Theft Goes Big”
Most of us who work on developing and deploying technologies designed to protect the supply chain usually focus on anti-counterfeiting. But that’s only one of the elements in the list of illegitimate activities that can cause damage to the health of patients and the profitability of legitimate businesses who participate in the U.S. pharma supply chain. I include the following activities in that list:
These activities have all been detected from time to time in the U.S. supply chain for quite a few years, but the frequency of some of them has been on the increase over that same period of time. The question is, how much of each activity should we, as a society, tolerate before we step up counter-measures that are targeted directly on one or more of them?
THE RISE OF PHARMACEUTICAL CARGO THEFT
Over the last 18 months the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented rise in the value of drugs stolen in thefts of entire truckloads as they are being transported from point to point (also see this). I’ve heard lots of theories about who is behind it (organized criminals/gangs, of course) and where the product ends up (outside the U.S., most people think). Continue reading How to Stop Pharmaceutical Cargo Theft