EU industry commissioner comments on rise in counterfeit drugs: report

The EU's industry commissioner, Günter Verheugen, warned that the European Commission is "extremely worried" about the growing number of counterfeit medicines being seized on its territory and he said he expects the EU to take action to counter the potential consequences to patient health, Die Welt reported on Monday. "I expect the EU will agree in 2010 that a drug's journey from manufacture to sale should be scrutinised carefully," the official remarked.

Verheugen said recent confiscations of counterfeit product "exceeded our worst fears," explaining that "in just two months, the EU seized 34 million fake tablets at customs points in all member countries." Oncology and erectile dysfunction drugs, antibiotics, anti-malarials, cholesterol treatments and analgesics were reportedly among the products seized.

Regarding the measures being considered to guard against counterfeit medications, the commissioner indicated that "there will also be anti-counterfeit markings on packaging -- in particular a barcode and seal, to show clearly if a package has been opened."

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