China’s counterfeit-medicine rings have reportedly grown into full-fledged underworld networks, with the help of medical professionals and new technology.
State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) officials say some rings have fully integrated systems for production, internet promotion, and courier distribution of fake medicine.
The paper Economic Information Daily alleged that medical workers and people with a medical background were implicated in counterfeit-drug probes in Beijing, Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province), Guangdong Province, and Shandong Province.
According to SFDA statistics, authorities seized more than $2.6 billion worth of fake medicine in 2012.
Industry observers told reporters that even when the dealers are caught, they usually receive light sentences — less than three years in most cases.
There is reportedly a saying within China’s pharmaceutical industry: The counterfeit-drug rings are “earning the profit of selling heroin, but without the risk.”
Sources: Economic Information Daily (经济参考报), Xinhua News (新华网)
A version of this post appeared in the China Compliance Digest. For a limited time, subscribers to China Compliance Digest will receive the China Anti-Corruption Handbook (normally $750) and an ethiXbase membership (normally $695) at no extra charge. Details are here.