Hunting the Drug Counterfeiters
Friday, July 9, 2010
Pfizer are launching a proactive attack on counterfeiters, reports Bloomberg writer Simeon Bennett this week. The company are hiring former officials to hunt down counterfeiters, and beginning to pursue cases through civil courts, rather than simply waiting for the authorities to process criminal procedures.
Given the extent of counterfeiting of Pfizer’s Viagra product, their valiant effort is little surprise. However, as IPN have often pointed out – the weak rule of law (in both criminal and civil proceedings) often stops companies and victims from successfully pursuing civil cases.
The Confederation of Indian Industry has noted this as well. It notes that laws to protect trademarks do exist, yet the ability to enforce them is lacking. One of their reports states: "there remains a general view that prosecuting such civil offences is a lengthy and cumbersome process, often resulting in less than desirable outcomes."
Interestingly, in China the decision of certain companies to register branches in Hong Kong could come back to bite them. Many companies do this so that, in the event of disputes, they can take advantage of Hong Kong’s courts which are far less arbitrary and corrupt than their equivalents in mainland China. However, this opens up the companies to legal action against them, should they produce substandard products which harm people. Hence the victims of melamine-tainted milk (from mainland China) are pursuing a case against the producers, registered in Hong Kong. Perhaps the old adage – what goes around, comes around – will finally catch up with counterfeiters and substandard producers who harm so many people in parts of Asia and Africa.