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PhRMA Statement on Department of Homeland Security Efforts to Crack Down on Counterfeiting Crimes

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President and CEO John Castellani released the following statement regarding the Department of Homeland Security stepping up efforts to combat counterfeit drugs:

"The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) decision to step up efforts to eliminate counterfeit medicines should not only be applauded but should also serve as a warning sign to criminals selling fake and harmful counterfeit pharmaceuticals to unsuspecting consumers.

"No country is immune to the worldwide counterfeit medicine threat. A growing web of criminal networks around the globe are selling dangerous counterfeit drugs to innocent victims – people who might think they're getting a good deal but in reality are receiving medicines that are fake, substandard and in some cases lethal. Make no mistake: criminals are not only targeting 'lifestyle' drugs but also vital medicines that treat cancer, diabetes, malaria and high blood pressure.

"The most common mechanism for counterfeit drugs to enter the U.S. drug supply is through purchases made on illegal online pharmacy sites that are operated by criminals in other countries with known counterfeiting problems. Cracking down on these illegal sites can help protect patient safety and help ensure that the closed U.S. drug supply system is not compromised.

"In most cases, criminals caught selling counterfeit medicines in the U.S. face lighter jail sentences and penalties than criminals selling illicit drugs such as heroin. For this reason, PhRMA will continue to advocate for stricter sentencing guidelines for counterfeiters – the average jail time for a counterfeiting crime is 3 years but we believe that 20 years is a better fit for such a potentially deadly crime.

"In the meantime, America's biopharmaceutical research companies will continue to work with key government agencies – such as DHS and the Food and Drug Administration – as well as members of Congress to help safeguard patient health and the U.S. drug supply system."

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $45.8 billion in 2009 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.3 billion in 2009.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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