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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

7% of Medicines Said to Be Pirated

Counterfeit medicines account for up to 7 percent of the country's pharmaceutical market, the head of the Interior Ministry's economic crime-fighting department said Monday.

Major-General Alexei Orlov said the lion's share of counterfeit medicines is sold in Moscow and the surrounding region; St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region; and the regions of Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod, Saratov, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Stavropol and Primorye, Interfax reported. Orlov said many of the counterfeit drugs sold in Russia are produced in India and Pakistan.

Major pharmaceutical companies have long been critical of Russia's weak enforcement of legislation to combat pirated goods. They say they lose tens of millions of dollars per year to fakes, whose packaging and names often resemble those of licensed medicines. They have also cautioned that fake drugs may be a health risk to consumers. Some firms have changed the designs of their most popular drugs or added holograms to their packaging to help consumers know that the medicine is authentic.