Thursday, February 28, 2008

Operation Jupiter rains on fake antimalarials

anti-counterfeiting operations...sounds exciting...

A multinational, multidisciplinary initiative involving scientists, public health workers, police and government officials could provide a cogent model for rooting out and stamping out counterfeiting of essential and lifesaving drugs.

But replicating 'Operation Jupiter', which employed a battery of forensic tests ranging from mass spectrometry to palynology (pollen analysis) to track down a source of fake artesunate in southern China, would require technical capacity and resources as well as collaborative efforts that at present are sorely lacking in the countries most affected by counterfeiting.

In the developed countries where fake pharmaceuticals are still at a relatively low ebb, counterfeiting can infiltrate a wide range of drugs, but in particular lifestyle products such as the erectile dysfunction treatments Viagra (sildenafil citrate, Pfizer) and Cialis (tadalafil, Eli Lilly).

The focus of the operation co-ordinated by the World Heath Organization's (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the Wellcome Trust-University of Oxford South-east Asian Tropical Medicine Research Programme, in close co-operation with the Chinese authorities, was a generic medicine for a tropical disease that threatens some 40 per cent of the world's population and still claims over a million lives a year.

link to full article

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