INTERPOL Launches Anti-counterfeit Drug Initiative

Mar 12, 2013

Joining with 29 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, global law enforcement agency INTERPOL announced a new initiative to combat the growing problem of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. According to INTERPOL’s announcement, the initiative is a three-year, EUR 4.5 million deal that will create the Pharmaceutical Industry Initiative to Combat Crime (PIICC), building on progress gained by the agency’s Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime unit.

INTERPOL says the program will focus on the prevention of pharmaceutical crimes including branded and generic drug counterfeiting, as well as busting organized crime networks linked to this activity. The World Health Organization says pharmaceutical counterfeiting and related criminal activity accounted for $431 billion in sales 2012;  nearly 84% having a direct impact on public health. From random mixtures of toxic substances to inactive formulas, pharmaceutical crime threatens the health and therapeutic care of millions world wide and the process, damages the public’s confidence in the industry.

“With no country, no drug, no medical product immune from counterfeiting, a global effort is needed to combat this threat which puts the lives of millions of people at risk every single day,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

In support of the PIICC, PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani endorsed the program saying it will work with local health authorities, heads of security for the biopharmaceutical industry, police and custom authorities to identify and prosecute those who make counterfeit medicines. “Much like our work with the Partnership for Safe Medicines, part of the program will focus on raising awareness of fake drugs to spotlight the dangers, which are not only potentially poisonous and deadly, but place financial burdens on both patients and governments.”

Says Castellani: “We at PhRMA believe this new program could not come at a better time, as the fake drug market is increasingly posing a direct threat to U.S. patients. The FDA has warned more than 370 doctors in 38 states that they may have purchased fake drugs for their patients’ care, and just last year there were five separate prosecutions for counterfeit medications sales via fake online pharmacies in the U.S.”

Read the full story about Interpol's newly created Pharmaceutical Crime Program.

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