Monday, 11 January 2010

Bolivia: tougher sanctions against counterfeit medicines

The measure comes after police seizure 40 tonnes of adulterated drugs between December and January. It appears that the majority of counterfeit came from an importer company called ESKE SRL. The said company was selling drugs with expired use dates and in others, it changed expiration dates. Another company was producing counterfeit medicines that were of high consumption. It is reported that the head of the two companies will be prosecuted for crime against public health that has up to seven years jail.

The Minister of Health, Ramiro Tapia, reported that the government will start tracking counterfeit drugs, supported by students in biocheminstry and policemen, and they will do so in all pharmacies in the country.

Why new legislation? Mr Tapia said that the current Medicines Act does not provide tough penalties against those who threaten the public health, which raised the need to change it. "It is important to note that people who distribute adulterated drugs are playing with our lives and therefore the penalties should be more drastic," he said.

Added to this, the national chief of the Drug Unit, Amilcar Rada, said that crimes against public health are mentioned in the penal code in a "very general" way. There is the need to change this law to criminalize smuggling and counterfeiting of drugs, as well as the alteration of expiration dates.

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