Global Initiative to Combat Counterfeit Medicines

Global Initiative to Combat Counterfeit Medicines

03.12.13 | By John Castellani

The growing threat posed by counterfeit medicines warrants cross-border and public-private collaboration of the highest magnitude. Today, INTERPOL, the world's largest police organization, announced that it will partner with 29 of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies to create an enhanced pharmaceutical crime program to combat counterfeit medicines. It is a major development in our shared efforts to address this issue and will build on the progress of INTERPOL's Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) unit.

The Pharmaceutical Industry Initiative to Combat Crime (PIICC) 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.

According to the World Health Organization, global sales of counterfeit medicines in the marketplace and on fake online pharmacies represented an estimated $431 billion in 2012, and nearly 84 percent ($359 billion) had a direct impact on public health. Ranging from random mixtures of harmful toxic substances to inactive, ineffective preparations, pharmaceutical crime threatens the health of millions of patients and damages public confidence in the industry.

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.

We are pleased that many of our members are partnering with INTERPOL's Pharmaceutical Industry Initiative to Combat Crime (PIICC) and hope this globally scaled effort will help ensure that patients in the U.S. and across the globe are increasingly protected against criminals who seek to harm them. It's the least we can do working in partnership with like-minded organizations, individuals and governments who are committed to the same goal.

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