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Millions of Americans Turn to Web Site to Learn About Fake, Counterfeit Drugs

Millions of Americans Turn to Web Site to Learn About Fake, Counterfeit Drugs

WASHINGTON, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- More than six million consumers have logged on to BuySafeDrugs.info over the last year to learn about the risks associated with fake and counterfeit medicines. The Web site, sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), was launched June 21, 2005, and is the first online clearinghouse of information on the potential dangers of buying medicines outside of the secure U.S. drug delivery system.

"When we launched the site, our goal was to educate and inform patients about the growing problem of fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs imported into the United States. Since then, BuySafeDrugs.info and the number of people visiting it have grown tremendously. This demonstrates the need to provide patients with reliable information on how to identify potential problems so they are armed to make smart decisions about where to get their medicines," said Ken Johnson, senior vice president of PhRMA.

In the year since the Web site's launch, numerous federal and international authorities have weighed in on the dangers of illegal importation and counterfeiting, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In December, an FDA operation found that nearly half of the imported drugs they intercepted from four selected countries were shipped to fill orders that consumers believed they were placing with "Canadian" pharmacies. A number of these products were found to be counterfeit. On June 4, NBC News's "Dateline," aired a stunning expose into the growing international problem of counterfeit prescription drugs.

The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest predicts that counterfeit drug sales will reach $75 billion globally in 2010, an increase of more than 90 percent from last year. According to WHO, the consequences of accidentally taking counterfeit medicines can be serious, leading to therapeutic failure or drug resistance, and in some cases, even death.

"When people can't afford their prescriptions, they should not be directed to foreign countries where unsafe and counterfeit drugs have been found," said Johnson. "This site not only educates consumers about the potential dangers associated with imported medicines, but also puts them in touch with resources that can help them safely save on their prescription drugs."

More than 475 assistance programs are available now to help through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (http://www.pparx.org/ or 1-888-4PPA- NOW). To date, the PPA has matched nearly 2.5 million patients to programs that can provide free or nearly free medications.

The new Medicare prescription drug program is also offering a safe, legal alternative to beneficiaries looking to save on their medicines. A recent AARP study found many seniors will save more through Medicare's new drug program than through illegal importation schemes. The typical senior who previously lacked drug coverage will save $1,100 annually on their prescription drugs through the new Medicare plan, according to this study.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $39.4 billion in 2005 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry- wide research and investment reached a record $51.3 billion in 2005.

For information on the danger of imported drugs, visit: http://www.buysafedrugs.info/

PhRMA Internet Address: http://www.phrma.org/

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org/

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org/

Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America

CONTACT: Wanda Moebius of the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of
America, +1-202-835-3460

Web site: http://www.phrma.org/

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