MEXICO'S PIRATE MEDICINES TROUBLE RESEARCH-BASED FIRMS
Despite a series of positive intellectual property reforms in recent years, sources at the Mexican unit of US-based drug maker Pfizer have highlighted the heavy toll taken on multinationals by pirated medicines. It is estimated that illegal copied medicines cost Mexico's legitimate drug firms US$650mn annually -- roughly equivalent to a full year's local sales for Pfizer.
The US FDA has warned on the topic of counterfeit drug in Mexico in recent months, after several incidents involving US patients. Meanwhile, the main areas for copy drug sales in Mexico are found in Mexico City -- especially in tianguis, or Native Mexican bazaars -- and states bordering the US, such as Guadalajara and Jalisco.
Although research-based firms suspect that copy production does take place in Mexico, it is claimed that there are difficulties locating those responsible. However, the majority of copy drugs sold in Mexico are sourced from Asian countries including China, as well as other Caribbean countries.
Unsurprisingly, Pfizer confirms that its most lucrative drugs -- cholesterol-lowering Lipitor and impotence blockbuster Viagra -- are among its most frequently copied products. The US firm has also called for changes in the law to allow prosecutions for the sale of illegal copy drugs, which is still not a definitively illicit activity in Mexico.