13 October 2009 22:35 [Source: ICIS news]
MADRID (ICIS news)--The sale of fake drugs has become more profitable than heroin trafficking, and governments globally must enact clear legislation with strong penalties to combat the problem, a board member of the European Fine Chemicals Group (EFCG) said Tuesday.
Speaking at the CPhI Worldwide pharmaceutical exhibition in Madrid, Spain, Guy Villax, EFCG board member and CEO of Portuguese fine chemical firm Hovione, decried the health threat posed by “falsified” active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which he said comprise 20-30% of the API consumed in Europe.
Weak regulations and a lack of transparency in the pharmaceutical supply chain has allowed APIs manufactured by completely unregulated Chinese fine chemical companies to enter the market, he said.
New legislation now being considered in Europe as well as the ?xml:namespace>
In most nations, drug counterfeiting is currently not a crime, Villax said. And where it is, the offense is generally treated as a trademark or patent infringement – as it is in most of the EU and
“In other words, a counterfeit bottle of EPO [epoetin alpha] that is subpotent is not considered a more serious crime than a fake Christian Dior t-shirt,” he explained. “And I think we should be really worried.”
And even then, “none of these laws address the problem of falsified APIs or falsified excipients,” he said.
Regulated companies in
Villax recalled his first trip to the Canton Fair, a large Chinese trade exhibition, in 1984.
“Already in those days, a company called North Long March Pharmaceutical Company in
“If you check the books, this company seems to be a repeat offender, but it still happily supplies the rest of the world.”
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