IPR Center launches partnership to address counterfeit drugs

WASHINGTON – The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) has announced a new partnership between Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) to combat illicit pharmaceutical trade and protect patients from the health and safety threats posed by counterfeit medications.

Alongside PSI, which represents pharmaceutical companies around the world, the IPR Center and HSI will develop comprehensive strategies to investigate the manufacture, importation, transportation, sale, and distribution of counterfeit or unapproved medications and medical devices, as well as strengthen the supply chain across public and private sectors.

James Mancuso, director of the IPR Center, and Todd Ratcliffe, president and CEO for PSI, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement during a ceremony to commemorate the partnership at the IPR Center.

“According to the World Health Organization, more than one million deaths occur annually from counterfeit medicine and drugs,” said Mancuso. “Networking, connecting resources and sharing information enhances our ability to prevent the sale and importation of these dangerous pharmaceuticals around the world and protect consumers from the harm illegal online pharmacies pose.”

As consumers look for more convenient and affordable methods of acquiring medicines, many have turned to the internet. However, doing so comes with the risk of purchasing counterfeit pharmaceuticals, that range from drugs with no active ingredients to those with dangerous impurities.

“Consuming counterfeit or illegally diverted medicines poses a threat to public health and can have serious consequences for individuals and communities globally,” said Ratcliffe. “PSI’s partnership with the IPR Center reinforces our commitment to continue to use all of our resources, while leveraging our strong relationship with our industry and governmental partners to help stop the illegal flow of counterfeit and unapproved medical products globally.”

If you suspect you have received counterfeit medicine or suspect the illicit trade of pharmaceutical products, contact the tip line at 1-866-347-2423, fill out the online tip form, or contact the closest HSI field office.

For more information on counterfeit medicines or to verify before you buy, visit https://www.safe.pharmacy.

About the IPR Center

For more than two decades, the IPR Center, working collaboratively with its public-private sector partners, has led the effort in the government’s response to combat global intellectual property theft and enforce intellectual property rights violations. The center was established to combat global intellectual property theft – and, accordingly, has a significant role policing the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media, and the dark web.

About the PSI

In 2002, security directors from 14 major pharmaceutical companies established the Institute in Washington, D.C. Working with its members, PSI developed improved systems to identify the extent of the problem and to assist in coordinating international inquiries. PSI membership includes 37 pharmaceutical manufacturers worldwide. The Institute established representational offices with staff in Miami, Florida; Singapore; and Stockholm, Sweden.