During an investigation of illegal drug networks, police in Henan province seized approximately $30million in counterfeit pharmaceuticals and 65 medicine bottles. China Daily reports:
The public security bureau in the city of Kaifeng said in a statement that it discovered the network with the help of clues found from a theft case in which a woman used fake medicine to replace genuine medicine while pretending to make a purchase at a drug store in April.
After a four-month investigation, authorities in Kaifeng stormed 117 counterfeit drug production and sales sites and arrested 114 members of the network, which was based in the city of Anyang.
Although the government is trying to crack down on the illegal drugs, China is still one of the biggest producers of counterfeit drugs. This poses a risk to pharmaceutical companies that have invested heavily in the Chinese market. The Wall Street Journal adds:
China's government frequently demonstrates its dedication to social issues by proclaiming seizures and arrests. This announcement came after a legal change in May that extended the criminal definition of counterfeit drugs to include all fake medications, not merely those that harm humans.
Counterfeit sales within China represent a risk to the numerous pharmaceutical companies, such as Roche Holding AG and Pfizer Inc., that have invested heavily over the past few years in the Chinese market and rely on it for growth. Sales of pharmaceuticals in China are expected to hit $50 billion in 2011, up from $42 billion a year earlier, according to data from market researcher IMS Health.
Last week, Chinese police announced the seizure of more than 300 kilograms of illegal drugs and arrested more than 12,000 people involved in production and trafficking through a network of online video applications and chat rooms.