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Panel calls attention to threat of counterfeit products



Experts from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Eaton Corporation and Pfizer Inc. participated in a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of the growing threat that counterfeit products pose to public health and safety as well as the U.S. economy. The panel also explored ways to enhance government and industry collaboration, including federal legislation.
The panelists included: William G. Ross, unit chief, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Patrick Ford, senior director, Americas Region - Pfizer Inc.; Tom Grace, manager, anti-counterfeiting and brand protection - Eaton Corp.; and Kevin McLean, senior v.p., global marketing - Eaton Corp. 

"The protection of intellectual property is a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations, as counterfeit products represent a triple threat by delivering shoddy, often dangerous goods into commerce, by funding organized criminal activities and by denying Americans good-paying jobs," said IPR Center unit chief, William G. Ross.

HSI investigated nearly 2,000 intellectual property cases last fiscal year, which resulted in 365 arrests, 216 indictments and 170 convictions. HSI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also made 19,959 IPR seizures topping $1.4 billion manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) in FY 2010-a 34 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. 

The industry panelists voiced their support for measures that would enhance collaboration between federal law enforcement and industry, such as legislation that would give federal law enforcement agencies the authority to notify rights holders of potential counterfeits before officials seize those goods. Current law prevents such information sharing prior to seizures. 

"We strongly support measures that will pave the way toward more effective industry and government collaboration on detection and enforcement," said Kevin McLean, senior vice president, global marketing - Eaton Corp. "The problem is complex, and we need to address it meaningfully before it gets worse."
For biopharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., counterfeit medicines are a matter of patient health and safety. Because of this risk to patient health, Pfizer has implemented an aggressive and focused anti-counterfeiting campaign to detect, disrupt and deter major manufacturers and distributors of counterfeit Pfizer medicines. 

"Since 2004, we have prevented almost 65 million doses of counterfeit Pfizer medicines from reaching patients," says Patrick Ford, senior director, Americas Region - Pfizer Inc. "By attacking counterfeits at their source, we disrupt their flow to the global market." 

SOURCE: Eaton Corp.


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