Regulatory News: China’s Commitment to Combat Counterfeit Medicines
25th January 2012
Last month China announced its intention to set up a national office to handle intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement and counterfeiting.
The new office will exercise stricter supervision over manufacturers, in part through inspections, and encourage police forces and local government bodies across different regions in China to work together on investigations involving IPR infringement and product counterfeiting.
In the 10 years since China gained accession to the World Trade Organization the country’s share of global exports has risen from 4 per cent to nearly 11 per cent. However, that success has been mirrored by complaints that the country has become the primary hub for manufacture of a host of counterfeit products.
As China has come under increasing global scrutiny as a source of counterfeit drugs, the Chinese government has felt increasing pressure to act in order to bolster international confidence in Chinese drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
In one series of national raids in November, Chinese police seized two-billion-yuan ($315-million) worth of counterfeit drugs and packaging. During their operations, which involved 16,000 police officers, police arrested 1,770 suspects and broke up more than 1,400 dens that made or sold fake medicine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 1% of medicines available in the developed world are counterfeit. This figure rises to 10% globally and it is thought that in some developing countries an estimated one third of medicines are counterfeit.
Reviewed by Matthew Walker, Senior Regulatory Affairs Executive
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