Intellectual property theft can impact your prescription drugs - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Intellectual property theft can impact your prescription drugs

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (11/14/2013) – It's big business. You might think you are getting a good deal, but really, you could be risking your life when you buy prescription drugs online.

Studies show that one in six Americans buy prescription drugs online. The danger, according to some in the pharmaceutical industry, is that there are thousands of criminal and rogue sites posting as legitimate pharmacies selling unsafe medicine online.

"There's really no way to assure that what you're taking is really the product you're intending to take," said Jim Owens, of the American Pharmacists Association.

Owens said that when you buy prescription drugs from an online store, there is no way to know what is actually inside the pill without doing a chemical analysis.

Sometimes, these pills have no active ingredient inside, or they have fillers placed in the pill that could interact with other medicines.

Instead of what doctors prescribe, consumers could be taking, "a very good counterfeited product from an appearance perspective, but a very dangerous product," according to Owens.

Owens is trying to expose the risks by speaking on a panel about safety at the Global Intellectual Property Summit at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

"What you have, is really an education campaign that has to go on both from a government perspective and from a healthcare perspective that needs to be made to the patient," he said.
While Owens makes his case at the IP summit, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is working on the same issue just a few minutes away at the U.S. Capitol.
Washington Bureau Chief Jacqueline Policastro asked Casey, "When it comes to IP and the pharmaceutical industry, you've been one of the most outspoken members of Congress – why?"

Casey responded, "Well, because all of the hard work and learning and knowledge and expertise that's brought to bear on our intellectual property economy can be wiped out by theft."

Casey said he wants to protect the 200,000 jobs related to the $40 billion pharmaceutical industry in Pennsylvania.

"They've invented something or perfected something or put all of their sweat and blood and learning into an invention or breakthrough or new technology and it gets stolen by some actor in China or some other place," Casey said.

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