Thursday, April 12, 2007

Former Glaxo Security Chief: Big Pharma Hides Counterfeiting

It is estimated that the global fake drug racket is worth $40bn (£20bn) a year, and between 50 and 90 per cent of medicine in some African and Asian countries is counterfeit. Graham Satchwell, the former head of security at GlaxoSmithKline, the British-based global pharmaceutical giant, told The Independent: "Each therapy area is highly competitive, so if one person's drug is undermined, their market share will suffer. It takes a brave company to say they have a problem."

Mr Satchwell said that the "majority of the industry are sitting on their hands", rather than tackling the problem - for instance through radio tracking of their products. He also pointed out that the figures from the industry's own organisation, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, showed many cases of counterfeiting in the US, but hardly any in China or Africa - despite firm evidence from other sources that tens of thousands die each year in China and Africa as a result of fake medicines each year.

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