Congress tackles counterfeits

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Senate took an important step toward protecting American consumers from counterfeit drugs -- dangerous lookalikes that bear false trademarks -- that can potentially contain harmful chemicals or lack key ingredients. The Senate passed the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act (S. 1886), which will increase penalties for violators who manufacture, sell, or traffic counterfeit drugs.  Penalty increases for pharmaceutical counterfeiters was one of the recommendations in the Administration's White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement  and Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Inter-Agency Working Group Report.

We applaud this significant step and the leadership of Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and Senators Bennet, Blumenthal, Whitehouse, Feinstein, Kyl, Coons, Klobuchar, and Casey.   Counterfeit drugs can pose significant harm to the health and safety of Americans, and the bill addresses this growing global threat.  Other recommendations from the Administration include measures to crack down on illegal online pharmacies.  In light of the Senate's swift action on this measure, we hope they will also consider action on the Online Pharmacy Safety Act (S.2002), which updates and enhances U.S. law to protect patients from the growing number of illegitimate and unsafe online drug sellers that prey on consumers.  We look forward to working with the Congress on this legislation and other proposals designed to preserve consumer safety and address potential public health threats while protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.