Congresswoman Linda Sánchez released the following statement today after the U.S. Senate passed legislation that increases the penalties for those who traffic counterfeit drugs. S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, includes language similar to that of H.R. 3668, the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011, which was introduced by Congresswoman Sánchez in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I applaud the Senate for passing legislation that gives our law enforcement officers the tools to better combat counterfeit drug traffickers, and most importantly, helps ensure the welfare of American families. Provisions in today's bill will help safeguard medications and provide peace of mind for seniors, children and families. I urge the House Judiciary Committee to follow the Senate's example and take up the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011, bipartisan, common sense legislation that I introduced with my colleague Rep. Pat Meehan (D-PA). "
The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011 will increase penalties for the trafficking of counterfeit drugs to reflect the severity of the crime and the harm to the public. While it is currently illegal to introduce counterfeit drugs into interstate commerce, the penalties are no different than those for the trafficking of other products, such as electronics or clothing. The Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act will target violators that knowingly manufacture, sell or traffic counterfeit medicines to the United States. It has been reported that counterfeit drugs result in 100,000 fatalities globally each year, and account for an estimated $75 billion in annual revenue for criminal enterprises. H.R. 3668 responds to recommendations made by the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and the administration's Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Inter-Agency Working Group.