Senate passes counterfeit penalties bill

AstraZeneca supports the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enforcement Act. Photo via LostBob Photos at flickr.

Senate passed a bill this week that would increase penalties for those convicted of counterfeiting prescription medicines.

In January, AstraZeneca sent a letter to members of Congress to express support for this legislation.

The letters sent to bill sponsors Rep. Patrick Meehan, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Linda Sanchez noted that the issue of counterfeit medicines is particularly serious via “Internet pharmacies”:

While the total incidence of counterfeit medicines sold in “brick and mortar “ pharmacies in the U.S. is estimated to be less than 1 percent of the total market value, the World Health Organization estimates that over 50 percent of medicines purchased from Internet sites without a physical address are counterfeit.

Companion legislation is still pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.