Illegal drug market explodes on the internet

Source: O Globo (Rio de Janeiro - RJ) - 22/05/2012

Ministry of Health investigation lists 1,2 sites selling prohibited drugs and counterfeit products

BRASILIA. A work commissioned by the Ministry of Health found that companies that operate a parallel market on the internet for the illegal sale of medicines, appetite suppressants, anabolic steroids, abortions and blue prescription make criminal use of official logos. It was even identified a false profile of the Minister of Health, Alexandre Padilha, on Twitter. These are some of the results of the detailed survey "Digital inspection: threats are collective health on the Internet", which lasted a year, and was commissioned from a private company specialized in this digital area.

The study was handed over to the ministry in March. On the internet, criminals use symbols and logos of services and products from the Ministry of Health and deceive consumers with advertisements that the drugs are registered by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

The existence of 1,2 illegal sites, of the most varied, was counted. Of abortion drugs, especially Cytotec, 359 sites were identified (30% of the total); of appetite suppressants, 382 (32%); anabolic steroids, 258 (22%); herbal medicines, 159 (13%); and sales of blue revenue, 41 sites (3%).

In the case of abortion, the company hired to perform this scan on the internet comes to calculate that the cost of hospitalizations for problems resulting from the use of Cytotec reaches R $ 13,4 million per year. The illegal billing with anabolic steroids, in the period of one year of measurement, was estimated at R $ 153 million. With anorectic, the illegal market would have revenues of R $ 82,4 million.

According to the study, the sites sell illusions, in addition to unregulated products that generate health problems. The work concluded that there are, on social networks, "online drugstores", with criminal practices. “The physical and the virtual are mixed: medical consultations are made online, counterfeit drugs are purchased over the internet and sent to real addresses. The pharmacy that sells controlled products without a prescription is on the network ”, says the work's conclusions. “The internet is an escape valve: it is the communication channel between the individual and the criminal network that allows anonymity. The counterfeit drug industry is fueled by the search for banned drugs, the lack of inspection on the Internet, prices below the regular market, and the population's lack of information ”.

The authors concluded that part of the public health problems in Brazil is, in some way, associated with the internet: illegal abortions, purchase of counterfeit drugs, intoxication by counterfeit drugs and development of diseases due to the ingestion of drugs without medical supervision.

The work monitored the main brands of the Ministry of Health, such as UPA, Popular Pharmacy, Family Health, SUS and Samu. The products are presented like this on the internet: “Cenaless, the secret to your weight loss. Assists in the search for the beautiful body. Perfect butt: appear on the beach with a body that causes envy ”. And says that the product is approved by Anvisa, which is not true.

Counterfeit museum helps to “make consumers aware” in Thailand

UOL - 24/07/2011

Bangkok, Jul 24 (EFE) .- Most museums display unique, valuable and irreplaceable objects, but in the capital of Thailand, a major exporting power for pirated products, there could be no shortage of plagiarism and fakes with the most curious articles.

The museum, which has existed for 20 years, houses about 3.500 products, from common items from any store in the world, such as T-shirts, belts and perfumes, to the most striking ones, such as guitars, car wheel rims and motorcycles ready for use. circulate in the streets.

The original objects and forgeries are mixed throughout the exhibition hall, distinguished only by a label that identifies the real - "g" - and the copy - "f".

The purpose of this “museum of copies”, created by a law firm, is to “raise awareness” among visitors about the importance of preserving intellectual property rights.

“For companies, the most important thing is their brand, their presentation seal. For this reason, they do not want them to be related to inferior articles ”, lawyer Clemence Gautier told Efe during a guided tour.

The law firm organizes tours where it not only tries to “educate” children, but also offers “training” for police and judges to learn how to differentiate copies from legitimate items.

With the expansion of the internet, the sale of counterfeits has multiplied, especially that of drugs to prevent erectile dysfunction.

"People, out of shame, do not buy Viagra at the pharmacy, so they prefer to buy online, anonymously," said Clemence.

According to data presented by the firm, it is estimated that 50% of sales on the Internet are forged objects.

With the universalization of the “network of networks”, “there is a change in mentality towards free” music, video games and other programs, which many companies attribute to the crisis and the current commercial model.

The idea for this museum was born in 1989 when lawyer David Lyman was in Hong Kong and bought 100 “badly made” pirated products.

"Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and Eastern Europe are turning into factories for these items, relegating China to a second position," said Clemence.

The lawyer also explained that "the Asian giant is starting to cooperate in the fight" against apirataria "because it is hardening its policy to protect intellectual property".

According to her, the speed of this counterfeiting industry is such that, when a brand becomes famous, “the next day it is already possible to find pirated products on the streets”.

Clemence also pointed out low-value objects like pencils, erasers, staples and calculators as some of the most counterfeit. "It is much less dangerous to work with these products than with medicines and cosmetics, as they do not fall within the sphere of crimes against public health," he said, in front of a stationery store.

In addition to commercial matters, the creation of counterfeits is related to the violation of human rights.

"In factories of pirated products, employees have no protection whatsoever, and in many cases there are children working in them," said sources at the law firm.

Developing countries like Brazil, Thailand and India are the main market for these pirated items.

"Increases in demand and supply of counterfeit objects are evident on the streets," said the lawyer.

The cost of dishonesty

Source: O Globo, 6/6/2011


Common sense points out that pirates, since the beginning of history, have been thieves. Exclude the romanticism associated with the figures of some buccaneers and what remains are individuals who looted, plundered, stole the property of others. They preferred small boats, the fastest, to thus enrich illicitly.

The practice of dishonesty has crossed the times and permeates today, no longer linked to the men of the sea. It is associated with corrupt politicians, unscrupulous people from the most varied sectors, smugglers, street vendors and their counterfeit products.

But it is necessary to understand that it is also dishonest for anyone to cooperate with a fraudulent system. It is also dishonest to buy a product known to be pirated. Consumers who purchase fake products must be aware that it helps to finance organized crime, contributes to stop generating jobs and helps to reduce government investments because of taxes that are not collected.

Dishonesty is the abandonment of a permanent advantage for a temporary advantage, as the XNUMXth century American lawyer and author Christian Nevell Bovee brilliantly summarizes. In addition to frustrating the consumer in terms of quality, durability and efficiency, the piracy of certain products, such as medicines, sunglasses, cigarettes and beverages, can represent serious damage to the consumer's health.

Clearly, a counterfeiter is not interested in producing merchandise with the same quality as the original. Whether using components that do not undergo any health surveillance, making use of unsatisfactory manufacturing processes or applying improper storage, the result always brings an associated harm.

Cheap, expensive, contraband, pirated product: the black market still handles considerable sums that pass by society. Estimates indicate that Brazil lost US $ 20 billion to piracy last year, in taxes not collected and losses for companies. The problem is for all of us who accept being deceived by items of dubious quality and who make us accomplices in dishonesty.

And for us Brazilians, who tend to think that the problem is always that of others, that it is always the others who harm, that only politicians transgress, it is necessary to know that those who agree with dishonesty are dishonest. When buying that fashion movie DVD for R $ 5, or a pack of cigarettes for R $ 1, don't just think about the supposed savings you make. Also remember the jobs you are failing to generate, the violence you contribute, the public improvements you fail to finance. Yes, the problem and the responsibility are also ours!

FERNANDO RAMAZZINI is director of the Brazilian Association to Combat Counterfeiting.


Police seize counterfeit cigarette in Belém

Source: O Liberal - Belém / PA - 14/12/2010

The Civil Police seized 12.500 counterfeit cigarette cases yesterday morning in the Old Town neighborhood. An anonymous call sent police officers from the Interstate Police (Polinter), the Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIOE) to a house where the contraband was found. The owner of the cargo was not found and the three people who live in the property where the cigarette was were heard and then released.

Upon receiving the complaint, Polinter's chief delegate, Albertino Santos Filho, sent a team of three investigators to the address indicated on Avenida Bernardo Sayão. There, the owner of the house did not object to the work of the police and explained that the cigarette boxes were from an acquaintance of him, also a resident of the Bernardo Sayão section that cuts through the neighborhood of Cidade Velha.

The resident says that at around 2:30 am yesterday, an acquaintance named João asked him to keep 25 boxes in his house, because at that time he would no longer be able to get a large vehicle that would transport everything at once. João said he would return in the morning to pick up the cargo and the resident accepted.

Before João returned, investigators Marçal, Aldemar and Saul went to the place and saw that it was a counterfeit cigarette. "The resident didn't even bother to know what was in the boxes, but he assumed it was a cigarette because of the smell," says the chief. “He said that João is a short, white guy, about 50 years old. We haven't found him yet, ”he says.

The cargo and the three residents of the house were taken to Dioe. The material was seized so that the Renato Chaves Scientific Expertise Center can test whether the cigarette is counterfeit, comparing it with original packs. The three were only heard, without being fined because there was no flagrante delicto.

During the 30 days of the investigation, recorded based on the law of tax, economic and consumer relations crimes (Law 8.137 / 90), the owner of the cargo may recover the material if he presents an invoice. However, due to the evidence of forgery, says the delegate, it is more likely that the Justice will order the cigarette to be incinerated after the examination.


Outlaw remedies

Source: Jornal de Londrina - Londrina / PR - 09/12/2010

A joint operation by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), Municipal Health Surveillance and the Federal Police resulted in the arrest of two pharmacy owners, arrested in the act yesterday and last Monday for marketing counterfeit and smuggled drugs. The inspection ends tomorrow and, until yesterday, ten establishments - most of them in the city center - had already been closed.

According to Anvisa, the operation was motivated by the large number of complaints received by the federal agency. “We also found establishments that did not have a health license and a license to operate; that is, they were acting illegally ”, declared the action coordinator, Lorilei de Fátima Wzorek, an expert in the Anvisa intelligence area.

Yesterday, the owner of the Central Pharmacy, located at Rua Souza Naves, near Concha Acustica, in the central area, was arrested. On Tuesday, the owner of another establishment was arrested. Anvisa told JL that it will not divulge the name of the prisoners.

In total, more than 100 pills were seized and were being sold irregularly. On visits to pharmacies yesterday, inspectors found 35 pills of the sexual stimulant Pramil and XNUMX boxes of fake Viagra.

Among the crimes practiced by traders are smuggling, drug trafficking (since those involved were selling controlled drugs) and selling products that are out of date.

“Fake drugs are produced in East Asia and enter Brazil through dry borders. We have not found any factory of this type in the country. And most of the counterfeit drugs are of the type for weight loss, for erectile dysfunction and used with anabolic steroids ”, commented the operation coordinator.

The Regional Pharmacy Council (CRF) informed JL that pharmacists involved in irregularities found by Anvisa, Sanitary Surveillance and the Federal Police, may be punished. “Depending on what is proven, the pharmacist can be punished - from a warning to suspension from 3 months to one year. And even, if it is a serious and recurring case, you may lose your diploma ”, said CRF Vice President, Dennis Armando Bertolini. The Federal Police accompanies the inspection with two policemen for each of the four teams that are in action in Londrina.


Lorilei de Fátima Wzorek, Anvisa specialist, gives some tips for people to avoid buying counterfeit drugs.

The first is not to buy drugs with the packaging open, as it is common to attempt to sell fake medicine along with those regulated.

Another tip is not to buy drugs that have descriptions in the boxes in a foreign language. The Avisa specialist also points out that the customer must be attentive to establishments that do not leave operating and health surveillance permits in sight.

Whistleblowing reports can be made by calling 0800 642 9782 or by Anvisa's website ( It is not necessary to identify. (With information from Daniel Costa)


Laboratories go to court against stamp

Source: Valor Econômico - São Paulo / SP - 25/11/2010

The pharmaceutical industries will go to court in the coming days against the decision of Anvisa (Health Surveillance Agency) that requires the use of a security seal on the packaging of medicines. “Our lawyers are defining the best judicial strategy. We intend to take action in the first week of December, ”Nelson Mussolini, executive vice president of Sindusfarma (Pharmaceutical Products Industry Union in the State of São Paulo) told Valor.

The mandatory nature of this stamp costs R $ 400 million per year to the sector and the expense goes to the consumer's account, according to Mussolini. "The discount margin for drugs in retail chains will be much lower and SUS [Unified Health System] will pay more," he argued. It is estimated that drug prices will rise between 6% and 10%, on average.

On Monday, lawyers consulted by the pharmaceutical industries will give their opinion on the best judicial path to be adopted by the sector.

The laboratories installed in the country sell about 4 billion packages of medicines per year. Anvisa published, in early November, Normative Instruction No. 11, which formalizes the adoption of the self-adhesive security label on the medicine boxes. The laboratories will have to implement the new requirement during 2011, since the requirement becomes effective from 2012.

The security seal will be distributed by the Casa da Moeda do Brasil, which has an exclusive supplier - the French Arjo Wiggins, a company that owns a paper money factory in Salto (SP). Anvisa's goal is to combat the smuggling and counterfeiting of medicines in the country. This seal will work in the same way as used in cigarette packs.

The pharmaceutical companies argue that this measure does not prevent piracy and should still affect the consumer's pocket. "These discussions have been taking place since 2006 and we have spent the past few months pointing out alternatives to strengthen traceability," said Mussolini. SUS buys medicines for about R $ 0,30, on average, for packaging. The cost of each label is estimated at about R $ 0,10, increasing your costs with acquisitions by more than 30%.

One of the suggestions presented by the sector was the use of the 2D barcode (Datamatrix), printed on the packaging, to do this tracking. Mussolini said that this system has the same efficiency as the seal and has a cost ten times lower than the R $ 400 million per year that Anvisa is imposing through the self-adhesive seal. "We discussed the efficiency of this system, which is used in medicines on the international market, last year together with Anvisa itself."

To Valor, Pedro Ivo Sebba Ramalho, deputy to the CEO of Anvisa, said that he already expected a reaction from the industries. Ramalho countered the sector, stating that the self-adhesive seal combines the two technologies - authenticity and traceability - and, therefore, is more effective. "We never stopped listening to the industries and we did several public consultations."

According to Ramalho, Anvisa discussed in contract with Casa da Moeda the costs of implementing the seal - R $ 0,07 excluding taxes, an average of R $ 0,10, including fees -, and the annual price adjustment index by the IPCA. The guarantee of supply of the product was also discussed, since the industries point this factor as a risk.

From the date of IN's publication, on November 3, pharmacists have two months to register with the Casa da Moeda, another six months to label medicines and another six months for medicines to be in accordance with Anvisa's requirements. Penalties range from warning to fines, ranging from R $ 2 to R $ 1,5 million for an infraction, in addition to the closure of the establishment.

Anvisa data show that the seizures of counterfeit and smuggled drugs rose from 620 units in 2007 to 53.535 thousand, last year. Until September this year, there were 53.575 thousand units. The seizures of controlled drugs increased from 61.495 thousand units in 2009 to 155.817 thousand, from January to September this year.


PF launches operation against sale of medicines over the internet

Source: - São Paulo / SP - 19/10/2010

Criminals used websites, classified in newspapers, forums and social networks to sell anabolic steroids, abortion pills, appetite suppressants, home medicines and unregistered formulas.

The Federal Police launched this Tuesday (19), with the support of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), Operation Panacea against the sale of medicines over the internet. The action takes place in 45 countries associated with Interpol, the international police.

According to the PF, 20 search and seizure warrants are being carried out in the states of Rio de Janeiro, Maranhão, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraíba, Santa Catarina and Ceará. Criminals used internet sites, classified in newspapers, forums and social networks to sell anabolic steroids, abortion pills, appetite suppressants, home medicines and unregistered formulas.

The Federal Police say that the purchase of medicines over the internet can involve major health risks. There are records of drugs that have less or more of the active ingredient.

In Brazil, the sale of drugs without a license or adulteration are heinous crimes, whose sentences can reach up to ten years in prison and a fine.

PF seizes fake drugs at SP airport

Source: Mais Comunidade - Brasília / DF - 11/10/2010

The Federal Police seized on Monday prohibited drugs, falsified or imported irregularly, that were being sold in the pharmacy of the International Airport of Campinas (Viracopos), in the interior of São Paulo. According to the PF, which carried out the operation with the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), most of the remedies were hidden in the lining of the pharmacy. Few units were on the shelf, along with regular medications.

Counterfeit Viagra, Cialis, Deca Durabolin and Hemogenin were seized, Centrum irregularly imported, in addition to Pramil and Winstron, the latter of which are prohibited to be sold in Brazil. The establishment was also fined by the Federal Pharmacy Council for three minimum wages for operating without the presence of a pharmacist. The person in charge was arrested and is liable for illicit drug trafficking, subject to a sentence ranging from five to 15 years in prison, in addition to a fine; falsification; corruption; adulteration or alteration of a product intended for therapeutic or medicinal purposes, with a penalty of imprisonment for 10 to 15 years, in addition to a fine; and smuggling or embezzlement, with a prison sentence ranging from one to four years.