PRI’s ‘The World’ Reports on Netherlands’ Recall of Discounted AIDS Drugs Diverted From Africa to EuropePRI's "The World" on Oct. 3 reported that the Dutch Health Supervisory Service's recall of AIDS drugs diverted from Africa to Europe will be a "large undertaking" and that packaging differentiation, "tighter" drug movement controls and patient monitoring are "critical" to prevent further smuggling (Glasse, "The World," PRI, 10/3). Nearly $18 million worth of discounted AIDS drugs earmarked for Africa was intercepted by wholesalers and diverted back to Europe to be sold at higher prices there. Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline estimates that 28 shipments of Combivir, Epivir and Trizivir were diverted to markets in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom between July 2001 and July 2002. Glaxo and European regulators did not detect the fraud until July 2002, when customs inspectors in Belgium noticed irregularities in a shipment sent from Senegal by a Dutch wholesaler that was passing the drugs to another Dutch wholesaler. The Dutch Health Supervisory Service has said it will recall 3,600 packets of Combivir and Epivir and will prosecute the individuals involved in the scheme (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/3).
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