(Washington, DC) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement today after the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act of 2011 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, approving the bill and sending it to the Senate floor. The bill increases penalties for trafficking counterfeit drugs to reflect the severity of the crime and the harm to the public. Blumenthal is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.
“This step is highly significant for a measure to ensure that our medicines are safe and effective,” said Blumenthal. “It will provide authority to effectively counter these dangerous drugs that threaten the health and safety of our children and families.”
Counterfeit drugs result in 100,000 fatalities globally each year, and account for an estimated $75 billion in annual revenue for criminal enterprises. It is currently illegal to introduce counterfeit drugs into interstate commerce, but the penalties for counterfeit drug trafficking are no different than trafficking in products like electronics or clothing. The bill would increase the maximum prison sentence to 20 years for first-time offenders and up the maximum fine to $4 million dollars. The maximum fine for institutions violating the law would be increased to $20 million dollars.