US Chamber of Commerce Joins 'Protect Your Pharmacy Now!' Initiative

NCPA and Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center Partner to

Combat Counterfeit Drugs

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), on the heels of the first annual "Protect Your Pharmacy Week" to highlight the issue of pharmacy robberies and burglaries, has partnered with the United States Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center to combat counterfeited and pirated prescription drugs.

"Counterfeit drugs negatively impact the US economy, the pharmacy industry, and most importantly, public health. Unfortunately, counterfeit products are entering the healthcare system not only via the black market and rogue Internet sites, but through legitimate supply chains as well," said Bruce Roberts, R.Ph., executive vice president and CEO of NCPA. "Through this partnership with the Global Intellectual Property Center, we hope to better educate pharmacists in all practice settings regarding this dangerous trend."

"Counterfeit drugs threaten consumer safety as well as the jobs of those involved in the production and distribution of medicine - from the innovative researchers who create them to the trusted local pharmacist who sells them," said Caroline Joiner, executive director of the Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center. "This partnership will enable us to spread the word about the growing danger of counterfeit medicines and their devastating consequences."

NCPA and the Global Intellectual Property Center will work together to provide factsheets, DVDs and other materials to inform independent pharmacies on the impact of counterfeit drugs and ways to protect themselves from piracy via authorized dealers, quality assurance programs, and secure transactions. NCPA will also join the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP), a group of nearly 500 associations and businesses, committed to increasing the understanding of the negative impact of counterfeiting and piracy by working with Congress and the administration to drive greater government wide efforts to address this threat.

Pharmaceutical industry losses are estimated at $32 billion per year and the World Health Organization notes the prevalence of counterfeit pharmaceuticals ranges from less than 1 percent in developed countries to over 30 percent in developing countries and over 50 percent from illicit websites. Meanwhile, the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest estimates that counterfeit drug commerce will grow 13 percent annually through 2010 and that counterfeit sales are increasing at nearly twice the rate of legitimate pharmaceutical sales.

Counterfeiting and piracy cost the U.S. economy approximately $250 billion per year, have led to the loss of 750,000 American jobs, and needlessly exposes consumers to dangerous and defective products, according to the Global Intellectual Property Center.

This announcement follows the recent partnership between NCPA, Purdue Pharma L.P. and FBI LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) for a "Protect Your Pharmacy Now!" initiative to combat pharmacy crime by improving pharmacy safety and security. The partners declared the week of April 14-18 as "Protect Your Pharmacy Week" and encouraged pharmacists in all practice settings to take steps to protect staff and patients from pharmacy crime, including prescription drug theft. NCPA members received free "Protect Your Pharmacy Now!" toolkits with resources to assist them in improving pharmacy security.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) represents the nation's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation's independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains represent an $84 billion marketplace, employ over 300,000 employees and dispense nearly half of the nation's retail prescription medicines.

The Chamber's Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion IP as a vital engine of global development, growth, and human progress. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

SOURCE National Community Pharmacists Association

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