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Proposed U.S. Legislation Would 'Set The Standard' For Global Efforts To Combat Counterfeit Drugs

In this Forbes opinion piece, John Lechleiter, president and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company, examines the business of counterfeit medicines, writing, “With global sales last year estimated as high as $200 billion, counterfeit medicine is big business, and it’s growing.” “In a recent Forbes column, Henry I. Miller cited an estimate by Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute that more than 100,000 people die every year from counterfeit drugs,” he continues, adding, “That’s why fighting counterfeits is essential to safeguarding health. We need action — national and international — to better secure the pharmaceutical supply chain.”

Lechleiter discusses the dangers of counterfeit drugs and notes, “Recently, a broad alliance of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies has come together to support federal legislation that would create a uniform national system for coding and tracing (or, technically, ‘serialization and pedigree’) of prescription drug products.” He writes, “This bipartisan legislation would replace a patchwork of inconsistent state laws” and “would provide a uniform standard to secure the U.S. drug distribution system and a model for international efforts.” He continues, “Ensuring that patients can continue to benefit from innovative medicines will require innovative approaches to expose and outwit the counterfeiters,” concluding, “The U.S. can contribute to a harmonized and coordinated global strategy to combat counterfeit medicines by setting the standard with passage of a comprehensive federal law on drug supply integrity this year” (8/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.