The Peterson Group Med
WHO to Reward Whistleblowers on Drug Counterfeiters
World Health Organization (WHO) together with the local authorities of Indonesia held a buy-bust operation in a dilapidated building just outside Menteng in the city of Jakarta last September 25, 2015. 4,000 packages of generic Cialis and 200 boxes of Viagra were confiscated along with three counterfeiting machines, dirty syringes, and three pails of chalk.
The five personnel, all local, admitted to packaging and sealing these drugs to be picked up by a dealer known by “Sam” at dawn every day. As to where the products are distributed and how it is being supplied, the workers do not have knowledge of. Another man named Jafar is in charge of refilling their supplies every week while a woman named Alice comes by every two days to give their wages. They are not allowed to ask any further questions and are not able to do so as even if they, most of the times, work by themselves inside that building for their activities seemed to be monitored. One of their fellow workers was once killed while going home after he told a friend where he was working. A few days later, that friend was also dispatched. Living in fear for their lives and their families, they cannot complain nor tip the authorities of their illegal employment.
While these personnel spent their time in prison before their trial, their spokesperson they call Matti was killed in what the authorities say is caused by a prison fight. The others, now fearing more for their lives and unsure of their fate and security even within the prison walls refused to talk and testify. The government also takes full control of the situation and does not communicate well with non-profit organization anymore.
Once again, WHO would have to restart from scratch. Calling a conference with other non-profit organizations campaigning on the same cause, WHO has opened its willingness to offer a reward to anybody who has lead information on the continuous fraudulent operations on counterfeit medicines.
The Peterson Group, a fellow NGO who campaigns against the proliferation of counterfeited medicines stated that a bounty of up to 20% of the value of any drugs being seized is available for anyone who can provide assistance. Private pharmaceutical companies also stated that they are to give their own rewards when generic copies of their own medicines are to be found.
Of course, counterfeit medicines are a global problem and both eastern and western pharmaceutical industries are equally disturbed by the presence of phony drugs in the supply chain.