PH main source of fake drugs—United States

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China leads top 6 nations of origin of counterfeit pharmaceuticals

The United States government has cited the Philippines as one of the top sources of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, alongside China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan.

In its Special Report 301 2022 released on Thursday, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) cited a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO ), which highlighted the global trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, estimated at $464 billion in 2019, or 2.5% of all goods traded that year.

The OECD report, “Global Trade in Fakes: A Worrying Threat,” said China continues to be the largest source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting, along with Hong Kong, for more than 85 % of global seizures of counterfeit products from 2017. to 2019.

“Last year, countries continue to report significant amounts of counterfeit imports from China, including COVID-19 test kits, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as air purifying particulate respirators air meeting U.S. Department of Health (N95) certification standards and equivalent masks, disinfectants, detergents and disinfectants,” the USTR said.

“In the first year of the pandemic alone, US Customs and Border Control (CBP) seized more than 30 million counterfeit face masks, (as) 14 US brands are the most popular targets for counterfeiters, and counterfeit US-branded drugs account for 38 percent of global counterfeit drug seizures.

The Department of Health (DOH) has yet to respond to the USTR report as of press time.

But last January, amid high demand for paracetamol and other flu-like symptom medications, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – an agency under the DOH – warned the public and healthcare professionals health against the proliferation of over-the-counter counterfeits. medications.

He reminded consumers to buy pharmaceuticals only from FDA-approved establishments, as the agency noted that counterfeit drugs have different characteristics from legitimate products.

He said the “logos, security marks, knurling, printing colors and appearances” of genuine products are different from counterfeit ones. He posted photos on his website comparing genuine pharmaceutical products to counterfeit ones.

According to the FDA, among the products that have counterfeit versions are paracetamol, phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride/chlorphenamine maleate; Carbocistein and dextromethorphan HBr.

Last week, the Bureau of Customs (BOC), in coordination with other government agencies, confiscated counterfeit and unregistered health products from China worth 31.5 million pesos during operations distinct in Manila.

In one of his weekly “Talk to the People” television spots last February, President Rodrigo Duterte told authorities to inject the fake drugs into those who sell them.

“The [fake] seized drugs, you keep them for the intervention of justice. You save the body from crime,” Duterte said, speaking to FDA Deputy Director Oscar Gutierrez.

“Now, if there are already too many, my suggestion to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group): ‘Tell them [sellers] keep half of what was confiscated. Let them take it – slowly,” the president added.

The USTR report indicates that the manufacture and distribution of pharmaceutical products and active pharmaceutical ingredients bearing counterfeit brands is a growing problem with significant consequences for the health and safety of consumers, exacerbated by the rapid growth of illegitimate online sales.

The agency noted that counterfeiting contributes to the proliferation of substandard and dangerous drugs that do not meet established quality standards.

Although it may not be possible to determine an exact figure, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that substandard or falsified medical products account for 10% of total medical products in developing countries. low and middle income.

The Special 301 Report is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property protection and enforcement.

The USTR reviewed more than 100 trading partners for the 2022 Special 301 Report and placed 27 countries on the Priority Watch List or Watch List, indicating issues with intellectual property rights protection, enforcement or market access for people dependent on intellectual property.

The Philippines, which was listed in 1989, was removed in 2014 and has not been listed since.

In its Special 301 Report this year, the USTR urged countries to adopt laws and enforcement practices designed to prevent unauthorized camcorders, such as the laws that have been passed in the Philippines, Canada, Japan and in Ukraine.


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