Friday, November 19, 2010

Probe Into Fake Cancer Drugs

Cypriot police investigating counterfeit cancer treatment drugs which are being smuggled into the European Union.

In a story by Constantinos Ioannou which appeared in the November 11 issue of the Cyprus Mail, two pharmaceutical companies within Cyprus have been implicated in a case of counterfeit cancer treatment drugs which are being illegally smuggled into the European Union.

According to the Cyprus Mail article:

• Cypriot police received a court order from the German Federal Police on Tuesday and searched four premises on the island, two in Larnaca district and two in Limassol district.

• The premises searched belong to two pharmaceutical companies which have been operational since March. There were also simultaneous searches conducted in Germany, Norway and Switzerland.

• Police spokesman Michael Katsounotos yesterday said: “From investigations conducted so far it does not appear that any crime was committed on Cypriot soil.” Katsounotos also assured the public that none of these counterfeit drugs were available in the Cypriot market.

• According to Katsounotos the counterfeit cancer treatment drugs were manufactured in England and were due to be distributed outside the European Union only. However upon receiving them, pharmacists in an unnamed third country modified the drugs and sold them to various other countries, some of which are based in the European Union. Investigators in Norway and Germany came to the conclusion that the modified counterfeit drugs were brought to Cyprus and then distributed to markets around the world.

• The two pharmaceutical companies on the island which have been implicated in the investigations are alleged to have purchased the counterfeit cancer treatment drugs before distributing them to Norway and Germany.

• Katsounotos said that the owners of the companies have been questioned but it appears at this point that no crime was committed on Cypriot soil. However he added: “Further investigations are due to take place and the completed file will be given to the Attorney-general who will make the final decision if there are any charges to be brought against the companies.” Katsounotos also added that some of the drugs were taken to the Netherlands where documents were falsified to show that they came from Cyprus.

• Katsounotos assured the public that none of the drugs were available in Cyprus, although he could not clarify if the counterfeit cancer treatment drugs were in Cyprus at any point.

• “That is the object of our investigation, what we know as fact is that documents were falsified in Holland to show that these drugs came from Cyprus,” he said.

• The Director of the State Laboratory Popi Kanari also warned yesterday that the use of counterfeit drugs, which can be usually purchased via the internet or other unofficial sources may pose serious risks to a person’s health.

• Kanari stressed that these drugs have not gone through the proper procedure of registration at the ministry of health. Kanari said: “Such drugs have been tested numerous times by the lab and have been found to contain toxic substances that can cause serious problems to one’s health”.

The criminal act of counterfeit medications is not limited to undeveloped countries and traditional black market activities.

Adulterated, fraudulent, sub-standard and counterfeit medications are making their way into the legitimate supply chains in developed countries by using illegal transactions and documentation.

The fraud of altering the transactional drug pedigrees, basically authenticating counterfeit or sub-standard drugs as real and efficacious is as dangerous and lethal to the patient as the poisons inside the bogus drugs.

The danger counterfeit drugs represent to entire health care populations is very real and all members of the pharmaceutical supply chain should take proactive measures to protect their inventories and consumers.
Authenticating and verifying what is inside the medications is the only way to make certain that the consumer is taking the real thing.

To read the entire Cyprus Mail article, visit:
To learn more about proactive, anti-counterfeiting authentication technologies, visit:

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