Have you ever ordered anything over the Internet? If so are you sure where the product came from? My friend Marcia Mooty Bergeron thought she did and it cost her, her life. I am talking about Internet piracy. Marcia had ordered what she thought were legal prescription drugs over the Internet from what she thought was a Canadian website. The pills looked the same but what she did not realize is they were lace with dangerous metals like titanium, lead, arsenic and uranium.
I was visiting Marcia a few days before she died at her Canadian home over Christmas in 2006. We shopped and ate out, she even played the bells in the church choir. I never thought that as she dropped me at the airport that this would be the last time I saw her. Marcia died sometime that night, the cause MURDER BY INTERNET. Her symptoms diarrhea, tiredness, sounds like the flu right. The autopsy showed that she died from ingestion of contaminated counterfeit medication, or cardiac arrhythmia stemming from metal toxicity.
In April I visited Washington D.C. to help put a stop to rogue websites through legislative action. Not only do these websites sell deadly drugs, they distribute pirated and counterfeit products such as books, music, software and other stolen goods. Other serious issues are identity theft and spreading of viruses onto computers.
According to a report by Frontier Economics the global economic value of counterfeiting and piracy is $650 billion a year. International trade in counterfeit and pirated products is $360 billion a year. The robs G20 governments of $125 billion a year in lost tax revenue and other benefits.
You may think you would never get on one of these websites, but think again, these are sophisticated and well designed websites with corporate advertising. Marcia was very intelligent and used the Internet as a tool of convenience because she lived on an island and it was easier to order products over the Internet rather than taking a ferry to the mainland. The pills she thought were from Canada were actually from overseas.
No matter what the counterfeit product is these websites have to be shut down, plain and simple. This is theft and is harming our economy by depriving our country of jobs and tax revenues along with the unknown dangers with some of these products. I know you are saying, "but it's cheaper." Think about it, these are criminals, would you hand them your credit card just because it's cheaper?
In Washington D.C. I met with members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and members of the Pharmaceutical Alliance to discuss Internet piracy and possible solutions. We shot a video telling of Marcia's story and the dangers of rogue websites. I also had a chance to visit with Senator Grassley's staff members to push for action in congress. The Internet is a a great tool but it also needs to be a safe one.
I know that I am only one voice but I hope it was loud enough to make the congress act on this problem.
For more information on Internet piracy go to the Global Intellectual Property Center website www.theglobalipcenter.co of FightOnlineTheft.com