Monday, April 6, 2009

Russia: Four Pharma Execs Found Guilty of Counterfeiting 50 Brands of Medicine - Get Slap on the Hand

Four pharmaceutical executives from a prominent Russian pharmaceutical company, Bryntsalov A, were convicted in Moscow of counterfeiting over 50 different brands of medicine but all they got was a slap on the hand. Tatyana Bryntsalova, Oleg Zharov Sergey Novikov, and another executive received a suspended sentence, parole and fines of 30,000 – 50,000 rubles (about $900 - $1,500).

The knock-offs were sophisticated immitations, which made it difficult for doctors or patients to distinguish the fakes from the genuine products. According to police investigators around $2.5 million of medicines were manufactured by the company in 2004 and 2005.

TheraFlu, Viagra, No-Spa, Mezim-Forte, Nootropil and Baralgin are among the American and European drugs that were imitated. So far, however, only the American company Pfizer has indicated that it will take any action to seek restitution from Bryntsalov A.

Some of these medications were found in Russian hospitals. One of the fake medicines, Cavinton, made its way to a large research hospital in Siberia. The doctors there unknowingly administered around 3,000 doses of the fake Cavinton to their patients. The investigation eventually traced the fakes to a warehouse in Moscow registered to Tatyana Bryntsalova.

Tatyana Bryntsalova, former director of Bryntsalov A, is known to have strong political ties in Russia. She is a sister of the pharmaceuticals and vodka business tycoon, Vladimir Bryntsalov, the founder of Bryntsalv A and a former presidential candidate.

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