BusinessWeek.com reports that illegal medicine sales in Europe top $14 billion annually, with one in five Europeans saying they’ve purchased prescription drugs through the Internet, without a doctor’s guidance. “That carries serious health risks, according to a “Cracking Counterfeit Europe” survey funded by Pfizer Inc.”
The report says 21% of the 14,000 Europeans taking part in the online survey indicated they bought the meds due to convenience and lower costs.
Pfizer’s Web site notes, “While the United States is fortunate to have a pharmaceutical distribution system that is generally considered to be among the safest in the world, new cases of counterfeit medicines are emerging every day and Pfizer is not exempt from being targeted.”
Pfizer has been active in the anti-counterfeiting battle, as the company’s site attests: “For its part, Pfizer is identifying new technologies it can employ to make its packaging more counterfeit-proof. For example, Pfizer was the first pharmaceutical company to add Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology as part of a comprehensive safe-packaging program, including installing RFID tags on all Viagra® marketed in the United States.” Pfizer also provides a list of “helpful Web sites that lead to more information about counterfeit and importation.”