Google and Microsoft have partnered with the Obama administration to establish a not-for-profit organization aimed at blocking illegal online pharmacies from selling counterfeit prescription drugs, the White House Office of Management and Budget recently announced, Bloomberg reports (McQuillen, Bloomberg, 12/14).
Illegal online pharmacies have filled tens of millions invalid prescriptions, according to a Partnership for a Drug-Free America report released on Tuesday.
One in six U.S. residents, or about 36 million individuals, potentially have been exposed to counterfeit or unapproved medications, according to the report (Mello, PC World, 12/14).
Victoria Espinel, White House intellectual property enforcement coordinator, said other companies participating in the effort include:
- American Express;
- eBay's PayPal;
- Visa; and
The companies are responding to a call from the administration for private organizations to help police illegal pharmacies "before it snowballs into a bigger problem," Espinel said.
Counterfeit drugs account for $75 million in global sales, and an estimated 1% to 2% of drugs in North America are illegitimate, according to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (Bloomberg, 12/14).