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Pfizer takes to Twitter for new anti-counterfeiting push

Company's Global Security team starts using the social network and backs the US Stop Online Piracy Act

Pfizer has ramped up its use of social media to bring its global anti-counterfeiting message to a wider audience.

Pfizer Global Security's debut on Twitter coincides with debates in the US on new anti-piracy legislation, and @PfizerGlobalSec has already voiced its approval for the proposals.

The company's security arm is staffed by law enforcement personnel who have joined the pharma company from agencies such as the FBI and US customs, and Pfizer recently showcased their work on its YouTube channel for Viagra. Viagra and other erectile dysfunction treatments are among the world's most counterfeited drugs with thousands of websites worldwide offering fake versions.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) seeks to give “law enforcement and job creators have the necessary tools to protect American intellectual property from counterfeiting and piracy”.

Because it will do this by blocking access to certain website it has attracted the ire of technology companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, eBay and LinkedIn.

But SOPA also proposes increasing the criminal penalties for people who traffic in counterfeit medicine, which is why Pfizer has been more welcoming.

Pfizer's chief security officer John Clark told the House of Representatives hearing on SOPA that the legislation was essential to protect consumers and their health from counterfeit drugs. "For Pfizer, pharmaceutical counterfeiting is first and foremost an issue of patient health and safety," he said.

In the UK Pfizer has a long-running patient safety campaign targeting counterfeit drugs. Real Danger began life with a hard-hitting cinema advert in 2009 and was this year given a social media boost with new Twitter and Facebook initiatives to warn of the dangers of 'medicine spam'.

22nd November 2011

From: Marketing

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