Counterfeit Goods Traders to Face 20 Years in Jail

2482 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Government tabled before Parliament the Anti-Countefeits Bill 201o. The Bill prescribes a 20-year jail term for traders trafficking in counterfeits goods.

Traders dealing in counterfeits goods could face up to 20 years in jail once Parliament passes the Anti-Counterfeits Bill 2010.
The Bill tabled by the State Minister for Trade Nelson Gagawala Wambuzi also provides for other stringent penalties aimed at stopping the proliferation of counterfeits.
Wambuzi says the absence of a tough law has increased the number of fake goods in Uganda and adversely affected the trade in the country. He says the Bill calls for the blacklisting of companies engaged in the counterfeit trade and there will be zero tolerance for participation in the fraud.
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Despite what it promises to do, the Anti-Counterfeits Bill is not universally welcome.
Access to healthcare activists in East Africa are opposed to the Bill, fearing it would limit the importation and manufacture of important generic medicines.  They want the proposed law to support the development of local medicines and protection of their intellectual rights before defending the rights of foreign companies.
Raymond Agaba, Commissioner for Internal Trade, allays fears that the Bill will raise the cost of generic medicines and restrict their access.  He says role for regulating the pharmaceutical market has been removed from the Bill and handed to the National Drug Authority.
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The first version of the Anti-Counterfeits Bill gave the responsibility for the seizure of suspected fake medicine to the Uganda Bureau of Standards and Uganda Revenue Authority.
The Bill has been committed to the parliamentary committee on trade and industry for consideration. The committee will hold public hearings on the matter before presenting the House with its recommendations.