Updated on 14 March 2013
The program will focus on the prevention of all types of pharmaceutical crime including branded and generic drug counterfeiting
Singapore: Combating the global scourge of fake medicines that threatens the health of millions of people is the focus of a landmark agreement between Interpol and 29 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
The three-year deal, worth approximately $5.8 million (EUR 4.5 million), will see the creation of Interpol's Pharmaceutical Crime Program to further build on the work of its Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) unit. This will enhance the law enforcement community's response to pharmaceutical crime through stronger partnership development.
The program will focus on the prevention of all types of pharmaceutical crime including branded and generic drug counterfeiting as well as the identification and dismantling of organized crime networks linked to this illegal activity, which generates millions in illicit profits every year. "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 Mr Ronald K Noble, secretary general, Interpol. "This support from a group of 29 companies from the pharmaceutical industry forms a bridge between the public and private sectors and will assist Interpol and each of its 190 member countries to more effectively tackle the problem of medical product counterfeiting," said the Interpol chief.
An essential part of the program is to raise public awareness of the dangers of fake drugs, particularly for people buying medicines online. The World Health Organization estimates that in more than 50 per cent of cases, medicines purchased over the Internet from illegal sites that conceal their physical address have been found to be counterfeit.
In 2012, Operation Pangea V, an Interpol-supported initiative spanning 100 countries aimed at disrupting the organized crime networks behind the illicit online sale of medicines, resulted in some 80 arrests and the worldwide seizure of 3.75 million units of potentially life-threatening medicines worth $10.5 million.