Monday, December 19, 2005

The Scourge of Fake Drugs on Fighting Malaria
Continuing our search for fact-based analysis, we compiled this data on the challenges facing global health organizations battling malaria. Worldwide, 645 million people are at risk from malaria. Prompt access to treatment with effective, safe medicines, such as artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) and insecticide treated nets, saves lives:
  • A recent study in The Lancet concluded that up to 40% of artusenate products (the most effective drug against malaria) contain no active ingredients.
  • A study conducted in South-East Asia in 2001 revealed that 38% of 104 antimalarial drugs on sale in pharmacies did not contain any active ingredients. There were forged holograms on fake artesunate blisterpacks bought in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • The WHO reported that in 1999, at least 30 people died in Cambodia after taking counterfeit antimalarials
  • According to the "Roll Back Malaria Partnership", counterfeit insecticide treated nets are now proliferating, due to the difficulty of obtaining the real thing.

What is lacking is an effective solution, appropriate for these countries, and the level of education available to NGOs and consumers.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Fake Flu Drugs
It was inevitable, given the fear about an avian flu pandemic and subsequent panic buying, that counterfeit Tamiflu has been found in the US by US Customs. Apparently, 1000 Exxon-Mobil employees were recently given fake vaccines. Roche, the manufacturer of Tamiflu, recommends consumer use the color and taste of the drug, and packaging info to help identify authentic product.

‘Tamiflu is contained in a distinctive yellow and light grey capsule and the powder has a very bitter taste. Also the batch number, expiry date and manufacture dates need to match up on the outside packaging and the blister pack.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

How Big a Problem?
There's an oft-repeated quote, attribtued to various sources, that counterfeits make up 7-8% of world trade. Rather than rely on a top-down, hard-to-validate number, we look for bottom-up, recent fact based evidence.
  • Michelin estimated that 50,000-70,000 countfeit tyres have been sold in Europe in the last 18 months at half the price of those made by Michelin. They plan to take action against any distributors found selling fakes as Michelins. It's not clear how they will police the 5,000 distributors or detect fakes.
  • Denso estimates it has losses of several million dollars a year from counterfeit spark plugs .
  • This data rich report reviewed worldwide counterfeit enforcement activity (investigations, raids, seizures, arrests, charges, convictions, sentences, civil litigation ) for October 2005. This data is new:
"... 18 million pirated items originating from China worth $13 Million were seized from 120 consignments in the 10 day period. If the operation was to continue year round, it would equate to 175 fully loaded Boeing 747 cargo aircraft entering the EU annually with goods valued at $500 Million. If customs organizations would release reports on individual seizures, the public would be more informed about the scope of the problem and dangers that items such as counterfeit drugs, sunglasses, mobile phone batteries and razorblades pose to the public."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kicking Off YottaBlog

Welcome to the YottaMark blog. We'll post news and information about global counterfeiting and the technologies available to tackle it.