Friday, August 14, 2009

SafeMeds Weekly: Counterfeit Drug Sentencing Less Than Adequate

In an opinion piece posted on SafeMeds Weekly on August 10, 2009, Marvin D. Shepherd, PhD discusses the issue of light sentencing given to those convicted of counterfeiting medications around the globe. Dr. Shepherd asserts that inadequate sentencing “undermines the seriousness and true threat that counterfeit drugs pose to society and public health.”

Dr. Shepherd sites several examples:

  • After nearly two years under investigation, the final sentence for running an international multi-million pound counterfeit medication operation was issued in the United Kingdom. The first four convictions were made in September 2007 and on July 6, the final member of the operation received a 12 month sentence, suspended for two years, for masterminding an industrial scale conspiracy of supplying counterfeit drugs between 2002 and 2005. In total, the seven convicted members of this international counterfeit drug ring received a combined 17.5 years imprisonment-an average of 2.5 years for each participant-for their part in the U.K. distribution arm of a global ring operating from China, India and Pakistan, extending to the Caribbean and the United States.

  • In March 2009, an Arizona couple received at most eight years imprisonment for running an illegal drug business netting more than $2.5 million from 2004 to 2006. In comparison, convicted members of an illegal recreational drug ring would receive mandatory minimum sentences starting at 20 years up to life imprisonment for distribution in the United States.

In this article Dr. Shepherd questions the logic of not holding those responsible for the distribution and sale of counterfeit drugs to the same severity to those who commit similar offenses with illicit drugs. Basically he believes that until this is done the individuals and organizations responsible for this very real threat will continue to flourish.

XStream Systems favors stricter and more stringent enforcement and criminal penalties across the globe for those convicted of manufacturing, distributing or selling counterfeit or adulterated medications. XStream also encourages those within the pharmaceutical supply chain to screen and test their inventories with solutions such as XStream’s XT250 which allows the user to test and authenticate product inside its sealed container without destroying product or opening the container. The XT250 is designed to be deployed and used within the supply chain onsite and does not require technical resources to operate.

To read the opinion piece and to learn more about SafeMeds Weekly, visit their site at

To learn more about XStream Systems, XT250, visit us at

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