Business news from Ukraine

Doctors and pharmacists call for strengthening fight against illegitimate advertising of fake drugs using leading medical brands

Doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers demand to strengthen the fight against illegitimate advertising of fake medicines on the Internet using well-known brands and faces of leading experts in the medical industry.

As Doctor of Medical Sciences, Director of the Heart Institute of the Ministry of Health Borys Todurov emphasized at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday, fraudulent advertising on the Ukrainian pharmaceutical market can claim hundreds and thousands of lives. As an example of this, he cited the fact that, in particular, fake drugs are often advertised on the Internet in his name.

“On the Internet, on Facebook, drugs are offered in my name that we allegedly develop. Don’t believe that this is so – we do not take part in the development of new drugs. We perform operations, we only engage in surgery,” he said.

Todurov noted that every day he responds to many messages regarding fake drugs that he is allegedly developing, and there are “dozens” of such drugs. One of the latest such fake drugs that is sold online in his name is Normocardis.

Todurov noted that he had already contacted law enforcement agencies with statements about precedents, and that the cyber police had already opened a criminal case into the use of his name and the names of his colleagues.

“It is very difficult to track such scammers, they are often located abroad. But I think that it is possible to find and catch at least those people who distribute fake drugs in Ukraine – they have telephone numbers, a specific address, they can be tracked,” the director of the Heart Institute said.

Todurov noted that advertisements for fake drugs are often created using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, which make it possible to create believable videos using the images and voices of specific famous doctors.

In turn, Honored Doctor of Ukraine, director and founder of the medical center Clinic of Dr. Valikhnovsky Rostyslav Valikhnovsky said that on his behalf there were recorded cases of distribution of at least eight drugs and dietary supplements that supposedly treat joints, varicose veins, heart, and rheumatic diseases.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with reality. I want to put it on record that this is not true and our brand has nothing to do with these drugs,” he said.

Valikhnovsky noted that the clinic also contacted the cyber police in Kyiv, and law enforcement agencies managed to block sites that posted such information in one day. However, he noted that it was not possible to solve this problem with Facebook.

“With Facebook it is very difficult to solve this problem during the war, so with this press conference I would like to appeal to the Minister of the Interior, the Prosecutor General, so that they take this problem under personal control,” he said.

Valikhnovsky noted that “if nothing is done now at the beginning of the development of AI, then later we will not be able to correct anything.”

At the same time, he emphasized that clinics and doctors without law enforcement agencies cannot independently identify fraudsters and fight them.

For his part, head of the Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of Ukraine Petro Bahriy clarified that in war conditions it is quite difficult to estimate the volume of the market for such fake drugs, including due to the ban on inspections.

“We cannot accurately estimate the volume of such a market, especially during the war. But we are interested in the Ukrainian pharmaceutical market being transparent, so that the promotion of medicines is legal, because we know about the responsibility for people’s health,” he said.

Bahriy noted that the Association was one of the initiators of introducing criminal liability for false advertising and the production and distribution of fake drugs.

“I support my colleagues and appeal to law enforcement agencies and everyone who can help overcome this shameful phenomenon and stop these scammers who today, using well-known brands of doctors, promote in their name fake drugs that harm health and even kill,” he said.

Bahriy also emphasized that leading domestic pharmaceutical companies are constantly developing R&D, developing new drugs according to international standards of evidence-based effectiveness, safety and quality, investing significant funds in this area.

“Fake drugs sold online in this way harm people’s health, but also harm the economy, because fraudsters, unlike pharmaceutical manufacturers, do not pay taxes, do not create jobs, and do not invest in the development of their brand and the country’s economy. The business of these scammers harms everyone, and law enforcement officials must solve this problem,” he concluded.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton auction canceled, some bones turned out to be fake

British auction house Christie’s has canceled the sale of a Tyrannosaurus-rex skeleton worth about $15 25 million after suspicions that some of the bones were far from original.
“After consultation, Christie’s auction house decided to recall the lot. The consignor has now decided to release the specimen to the museum for all to admire,” said a representative of the auction house.
The representative Christie’s did not specify the reason for this decision, but the problem may lie in the fact that some of the bones of the skeleton named Shen are actually replicas of bones of another dinosaur. President of the Black Hills Institute for Geological Research and paleontologist Peter Larson said that some parts of Shen are remarkably similar to parts of Stan, another Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that went under the hammer at Christie’s for a record $31.8 million in 2020. Larson suggested that Shen’s owner supplemented some of the skeleton’s missing bones with casts of Stan’s bones.
“They are using Stan to sell a dinosaur that is not Stan,” Larson said.
The Black Hills Institute for Geological Research owns the intellectual property rights to Stan, despite his sale in 2020, and is selling painted polyurethane skeleton casts for $120,000.
The U.S. Museum of Natural History at the Field Museum, one of the largest museums in the United States. Field, one of the largest natural history museums in the world, said it is very difficult to find an entire dinosaur skeleton. In most cases, in the skeletons exhibited in museums, some of the bones are casts.

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U.S. President Donald Trump has said in his telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky he said nothing wrong. “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of Ukraine!” Trump said on Twitter on Saturday.
Trump said, “Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster.”
Biden earlier called on Trump to make public the transcript of the conversation with Zelensky. The call came after media reported that a U.S. intelligence officer complained about the U.S. president because of “troublesome promise” to the foreign leader (perhaps referencing Ukraine and its president).
Biden said in a statement, “[Trump] used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation—a partner that is still under direct assault from Russia—pushing Ukraine to subvert the rule of law in the express hope of extracting a political favor.”

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