Enhancing Penalties for Criminal Counterfeiters

Apparently nothing is sacred when it comes to criminal counterfeiting. First we hear news of fake malaria vaccinations and knock-off cancer treatments, but now we’re hearing about a huge seizure of erectile dysfunction pills. Earlier this week, authorities at LAX nabbed a single smuggler attempting to bring in 40,000 counterfeit Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

Rather than getting a thoroughly-tested, FDA-approved product, consumers would possibly get a dose of printer ink, drywall, or even speed. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that the consumption of counterfeit medications of any kind is unhealthy and potentially dangerous.

In the future, we expect the only enhancement criminal counterfeiters will see is in their sentences, thanks to Tuesday’s Senate passage of S.1886, the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act. This piece of legislation will serve as a deterrent for those seeking to make a buck by tainting the U.S. pharmaceutical supply with unsafe counterfeits.

Specifically, the bill would provide greater maximum fines and prison terms for intentional and knowing counterfeiting where the offense is committed with respect to a drug. The new maximum penalties for first-time offenders would be $4 million and/or 20 year in prison for individuals, $10 million for other than individuals. The maximums for repeat offenders would be $8 million and/or 20 years for individuals, $20 million for other than individuals.

These criminals are brazen and directly threaten public health and safety. By upping the penalties for this dangerous enterprise, we hope the risk will prove far too great to even attempt to engage in this illicit and reckless behavior. We applaud the Senate for its firm stance for public safety and we look forward to passage in the House of Representatives and the President’s signature. We’d also like to thank California law enforcement for their once-again A+ work in keeping the fakes out of our homes.

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