Coincidence or Crisis?

  • by: |
  • 03/30/2006

Remember in the not-too-recent past many blustering elected officials regularly called the threat of counterfeit prescription medicines a “ploy” by the pharmaceutical industry? Well, they ain’t bloviating these days. Consider this frightening piece of news that has just crossed the wire …

DETROIT — The U.S. Attorney’s Office today indicted 18 people it alleged took part in a multimillion-dollar international conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes and counterfeit Viagra to raise money for the Mideast terrorist group Hezbollah.

“The enterprise operated from Lebanon, Canada, Brazil, Paraguay, China, North Carolina, Florida and the Dearborn, Michigan area, perpetrating crimes in the states of Michigan, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and West Virginia (and points in between),” the indictment alleges.

Unfortunately this is part of a dangerous global trend. The EU recently went on the record (again) with its concern about the rise of counterfeit drugs in Europe (see 3/28 blog entry) and Canadian authorities reported that they have made arrests in their on-going “Project Piranha,” seizing a Hell’s Angels gang’s supply of marijuana, hashish — and counterfeit prescription drugs (see 3/25 blog entry).

When, two years ago, the FDA stated publicly that counterfeit drug schemes were being used to fund global terrorist organizations, certain governors and members of Congress accused the agency of “being in the pocket of Big Pharma.” Well, they are strangely silent today.

And I don’t believe in coincidences.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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