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Patent: The First Line of Defense in Counterfeiting

Drug counterfeiting is one of the biggest issues encompassing a global scale. From local governments to private pharmaceutical giants to various international non-profit organizations, anti-counterfeiting campaigns have been founded. The internet has been penetrated so has been the local market units from legitimate pharmacies to gray markets to black ones. Large authorities such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) have already been involved, creating their own awareness programs and raid operations. Billions of dollar-worth of medicines was already confiscated from various physical manufacturers and online pharmacies. This goes to show that everybody is now taking this crucial issue more seriously.

Despite the best efforts, a lot of critics continue to question the late response of authorities to issues of counterfeiting. This, they say, has already been too late as thousands of people have already lost their lives from taking mislabeled, fraud, substandard, scammed and counterfeit medicines which contain little or no active ingredient at all but instead has hazardous substances such as chalk, paint or detergent.


“The persistence of this issue shouldn’t have been here if they have gotten security in the first place”, says Nicole Parker, head pharmacist and member of The Peterson Group, a non-profit organization campaigning against the proliferation of counterfeit medicine.

Big companies claim their security is legit, yet, their brands are the most likely to be counterfeited. For example, hundreds of counterfeit Tamiflu manufactured by Roche, one of the world’s largest and most trusted producers of medicines, have been seized in one of the legitimate pharmacies in Jakarta, Indonesia. When and how was the medicines distributed in one of the most anti-counterfeiting countries in the world, everybody is still trying to find out.


While the operations are still underway, the new medicines are being processed patents, the process which should have been implemented as the first step in countering production of fraud meds.

A patent allows the patentee to exclude third parties from making, using, importing, selling, or offering for sale patented products or methods of manufacture or use for a finite period of time, typically no more than 20 years from the date of initial patent filing. Patent protection must be obtained on a country-by-country basis. It is used to prevent others, for that geographical area and without the consent of the patent holder, from manufacturing and/or selling exact and close copies of the patented technology.

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