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2014

Enforcement: Seizure of counterfeit medicines after local FDA warning

Philippines - 30 December 2014

December 30th 2014 - www.gmanetwork.com

December 12th 2014 - www.congress.gov.ph

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 660 Kg of counterfeit medicines worth tens of thousands American dollars. The shipment, sent from Pakistan, contained various medicines such as vascular disease treatments, diabetes drugs or abdominal pain medicines.
This seizure illustrates the surge of counterfeit pharmaceutical products in the Philippines, where the national Food and Drug Administration reported that almost ten percent of medicines available in the country are considered fake, warning the public “to be cautious when buying medical products; counterfeit and fake drugs continue to be distributed despite the efforts from the authorities to eliminate these illegal activities”.

Communication/Conferences: Gangs using smartphone apps and social media to sell erectile dysfunction drugs and slimming pills at low risk and high profit

United Kingdom - 28 December 2014

December 28th 2014 - www.theguardian.com

Criminal networks are now taking advantage of the rise of social media to sell “lifestyle” drugs such as slimming products, erectile dysfunction drugs, sleeping pills or antidepressants, to a growing mass market.
This year, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) had seized 1.8 million doses of illegally supplied, counterfeited or poorly conditioned drugs, mostly originating from China and India. For the first time, the MHRA pursued YouTube accounts and removed 18,671 videos that directed viewers to websites offering illicit drugs.
YouTube encourages its viewers to report any account promoting illegal or counterfeit goods, and eBay is working in close collaboration with the MHRA and other regulation agencies across the globe, to remove and report any products not in line with its medicine and healthcare products policy.

Enforcement: Illicit drugs seized in Dhaka

Bangladesh - 21 December 2014

December 21st 2014 - www.bdnews24.com

A large amount of medicines was seized during a raid near Dhaka on the 18th of December by the General Directorate of Drug Administration. The seizure worth 7.5 million Taka (almost US$ 100.000) was mainly composed of anti-cancer medicines and food supplements, some of which were counterfeited and had been smuggled from neighboring countries such as India.
The owner of the company, SK Entreprise, responsible for the smuggling is facing either a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of 200.000 Taka, or even both. However, in this country, such judicial procedures could last several years before arriving to a decision.

Enforcement: Nearly a ton of medicines seized and five pharmacies closed

Peru - 12 December 2014

December 12th 2014 - www.diariocorreo.pe

Close to a ton of pharmaceutical products from dubious origins were seized in the province of Chiclayo, and five pharmacies near to the regional hospital were closed.
Those healthcare institutions were searched due to the absence of authorization to sell pharmaceutical products and then closed for health safety measures. The medicines seized were of unknown or dubious origins, falsified, counterfeited or in a poor state of preservation.

Communication/Conferences: Alibaba launches its new application to buy online medicine

China - 09 December 2014

December 9th 2014 - www.tradingfloor.com

The Chinese company Alibaba is set to launch in December an application that will facilitate the sales and home deliveries of pharmaceutical products. By uploading a photo of their prescription, the users will be able to compare the prices of medicines in the pharmacies around nearby and order them.
Alibaba plans to control the risk of distributing unauthorized medicines by implementing a protection via the CITIC 21CN company which will integrate a bar code tracking system on medicine boxes in order to identify the product and to verify its authenticity.

Communication/Conferences: The IRACM launches a free access e-learning treating about drug counterfeiting

France - 09 December 2014

December 9th 2014 - www.iracm.com

In an effort to communicate and sensitize, the IRACM (International Anti-Counterfeit Medicine Research Institute) has launched in December a free access e-learning composed of seven modules, aiming to improve the understanding regarding the pharmaceutical product and the stakes linked to it.
Counterfeiting, applicable legislations, fight against counterfeit but also ways to try to identify an illegal online pharmacy and to judge the authenticity of a box of medicine are topics addressed in the e-learning.

Enforcement: Fake drug factory busted in Dhaka

Bangladesh - 09 December 2014

December 9th 2014 - www.dhakatribune.com

A fake medicine factory was dismantled in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital. The owner of the factory was illegally producing handmade medicines, among which were found counterfeited treatments against tetanus, painkillers and antibiotics. The owner, who also used running water to make treatments for eyes and nose, was condemned to 2 years of imprisonment.

Communication/Conferences: 30% of antimalarial medicines are substandard

Africa - 01 December 2014

December 1st 2014 - www.iracm.com

The latest results of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resist Network (WWARN) revealed that 30% of medicines against malaria failed the quality tests and that 39% of those medicines were falsified.
Fake malaria treatments represent a real danger for public health because of the substandard dosage of active ingredient, too low to fight against the disease but just enough to allow the development of resistant strains.

Enforcement: 292 domain names seized in 19 countries

Europe and United States - 01 December 2014

December 1st 2014 - www.europol.europa.eu

Europol and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement have coordinated an operation entitled “In Our Site” which took place in the United States and in 19 countries in cooperation with Europol.
The law enforcement agencies that launched this operation, seized 292 internet domain names for having sold illegally counterfeit merchandises online, including medicines.


Legislation: Towards easing regulation of online pharmacies

France - 24 November 2014

November 24th 2014 - www.richardferrand.fr (PDF in french)

In order to develop the French market of online sales of non-prescription medicines, the Member of Parliament of the Social Party Richard Ferrand, presented the government a report aiming to ease the regulation governing the accessibility of this market. After two years, only 202 pharmacies have launched their websites, to which the report suggests to “remove the mandatory affiliation of the distant selling to a physical pharmacy”, which is already allowed in the United Kingdom.


Enforcement: Swiss national health authority reports measures taken against counterfeit medicines

Switzerland - 24 November 2014

November 24th 2014 - www.swissmedic.ch

In its annual report, the Swiss national health authority (Swissmedic), recalls the potential dangers linked with counterfeit pharmaceutical products and outlines the actions taken against these products. In 2013, Swissmedic has received 316 illegal activity reports related to drugs, has shut down 19 Swiss websites offering illegal drugs and has seized over one million of psychotropic counterfeit tablets at the Zurich airport, coming from China and bound for Egypt.

Communication/Conferences: A new campaign against fake medicines

Benin - 20 November 2014

November 20th 2014 - www.iracm.com

The Government of Benin launched in collaboration with the US Agency of International Development (USAID) a communication campaign informing the population about the risk associated with the consumption of counterfeit medicines and about the role it can play in exposing clandestine distribution networks of these drugs.
This traffic benefits to counterfeiters at the expense of economic growth, social welfare and poverty reduction of developing countries such as Benin.

Enforcement: Operation Pharmakon: 25 accused and 15 pharmacies involved in illegal resale and export of medicines in Spain

Spain - 30 October 2014

October 30th 2014 - www.iracm.com

The operation Pharmakon, which began in May of last year, started from an isolated case in the Spanish region of Aragorn. From this isolated case the Spanish authorities have uncovered a vast network of pharmacies illegally exporting drugs and selling illicit medicines with fake prescriptions at a very low price. To this day, 25 people have been arrested, including fifteen pharmacists, employees of drug distributing companies and physicians of the region.

Communication/Conference: Judge says Google settlement over pharma ads is fair

United States - 29 October 2014

October 29th 2014 - www.reuters.com

Google is planning to invest 250 million dollars in order to fight against the proliferation of rogue pharmacies online and against the increasing numbers of illegal sales of prescription medicines on the internet by more visible contents. Google is also planning to work with authorized online pharmacies to reinforce the legitimacy of their actions. This plan must be approved by an American court of justice before it is put in place. The judge of the Oakland County in California stated that “Google’s plan is fair” and would be ready to approve it.

Enforcement: £200,000 “smart drugs” seizure prompts alarm over rising UK sales

United Kingdom - 24 October 2014

October 24th 2014 - www.theguardian.com

A record amount of illicit “smart drugs” usually sold to students to enhance their memory and concentration has been seized from a website in the United Kingdom. Most of the seized drugs are medicines that should only be available with a prescription; one of the seized drugs is experimental and has never been tested on humans in clinical tests. The seizure, worth 200,000£ shows the increasing place Internet has in the sale of cognitive enhancement drugs, and illustrate the phenomenon of students aiming for over edge mental competition, moving from coffee to caffeine tablets.

Communication/Conference: Trafficking of counterfeit medicines would generate more than 11 million pesos annually to Mexican organized crime

Mexico - 17 October 2014

October 17th 2014 - www.iracm.com

According to the national chamber of the Mexican pharmaceutical industry, the trafficking of counterfeited medicines would generate more than 11.5 million pesos a year to the organized crime.
In spite of the efforts of the local authorities, closing 10 to 12 clandestine laboratories per year, the counterfeiting of medicines is a fast-growing sector in Latin America and especially in Mexico where 6 out of 10 medicines sold are believed to be illicit.

Communication/Conference: Counterfeit represent 20% of the sale of medicines in Brazil

Brazil - 17 October 2014

October 17th 2014 - www.cartacapital.com.br

The illegal sale of counterfeit medicines in Brazil is rapidly growing, representing this year 20% of the Brazilian pharmaceutical market for a total value estimated at over 3.2 billion US$ which is twice the world average according to the WHO.
Apart from the economic problematic linked to the counterfeiting of medicines (over 2 billion US$ from these sales are sent abroad), the presence of counterfeit medicines is rising and relayed by the Brazilian newspaper Carta Capital relating the sanitary incidents that occurred last September. The intoxication of children due to a counterfeited cough syrup resulted in the death of one of them; the product was made by an Indian laboratory and then imported through Paraguay.
Following this incident, the Brazilian national sanitary vigilance agency (Anvisa) recommended the population not to use treatments not approved by the national authorities.

Enforcement: Dismantling of a network of medicine counterfeiters in Hong Kong

Hong Kong - 17 October 2014

October 17th, 2014 - www.iracm.com

Acting on information, the Hong Kong customs led a two days raid in an industrial building in Cheung Sha Wan were medicines were stored for sale. The raid permitted the seizure of around 64.000 suspected counterfeited pills worth about 200.000 US$.
In addition, a test-buy operation organized by the customs led to the seizure of 1.000 counterfeited pills valued at 4.000 US$ and to the arrest of two men and two women; if recognized guilty, they could be risking a maximum fine of 500.000 US$ and imprisonment for five year.

Communication/Conference: Nonprofit partners launch Times Square ad to protect consumers from illegal online drug sellers

United States - 13 October 2014

October 13th 2014 - www.safeonlinerx.com

The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) released a common communication announcement which will be running from October to the end of January on the 520 square foot screen in Times Square. The advertisement is warning consumers about the dangers of purchasing prescription drugs online, it could be “gambling with your life”.

Enforcement: Europol’s operation Archimedes targets child trafficking, finds fake drug factory

Europe - 07 October 2014

October 7th, 2014 - www.safemedicines.org

Europol led between the 15th and the 23rd of September the “single largest coordinated assault on organized crime ever seen in Europe” in more than 300 cities, ports, airports and border crossings of the 28 members of the European Union along with others States such as Colombia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and the United-States.

The operation entitled Archimedes was targeted towards child trafficking organizations but also unveiled a large amount of counterfeit medication producing equipment, putting into light the link between the organized crime and the emerging integrated criminal economy, in which the counterfeiting of medicines has proven to be occupying an increasing place.

Enforcement: Nearly 750,000 units of falsified and smuggled drugs seized this year in Colombia

Colombia - 29 September 2014

September 29th, 2014 - www.iracm.com

According to the Colombian authorities, a recent operation conjointly led with the Venezuelan authorities resulted in the seizure of 13,000 units of counterfeit medicines, bringing the total amount of seized counterfeit medicines in Colombia close to 750,000 units in the past year.
Among the seized products were found HIV/AIDS treatments, psychiatric and pediatric treatments as well as contraceptives, some containing sand and cement.
The operation also led to the arrest of ten members of a transnational trafficking network of counterfeit medicines.

Communication/Conference: Market for online sales of prescription drugs grows in fits and starts

China - 25 September 2014

September 25th 2014 - www.english.caixin.com

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has released a draft regulation that would tighten the control of online sales of food and medicines. Sources with the knowledge of the matter reported that this regulation originally published in May could be put into practice by the end of October.
The draft regulation specifies that companies cooperating with drugstores will be allowed to sell drugs online as for smaller drugstores after having fulfilled the legal requirements, which still need to be defined.

Communication/Conference: FDA asks all medical professionals to “know your source” to protect patients from fake drugs

United States - 24 September 2014

September 24th 2014 - www.safemedicines.org

The FDA launched a new communication campaign “Know Your Source: Protecting Patients from Unsafe Drugs” oriented towards the professionals of the health industry.
The goal of the campaign is to educate the pharmaceutical professionals and other medical professions responsible for wholesale purchases about the danger of purchasing medication from “rogue” wholesalers.
The campaign reinforces the message that only state-licensed wholesale distributors as well as FDA-approved medicines can guarantee the safety of the treatment prescribed to patients.

Communication/Conference: Dangerous and banned pharmaceutical products on sale on eBay

United States - 24 September 2014

September 24th 2014 - www.safemedicines.org

According to the American channel ABC News on September 11th, dangerous and banned pharmaceutical products have been found on the eBay website. A private investigation reported the presence of illegal and dangerous slimming treatments containing sibutramine on the website. Sibutramine, used in treatments against obesity, was withdrawn from the American market by the FDA in 2010 due to its dangerosity for public health.
This investigation mirrors the campaign led by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to get Google to remove fake online pharmacies from the search results, to which Google responded by investing 250 million dollars to fight against illegal online pharmacies.

Enforcement: Biyela 2: Record interceptions of counterfeited and/or illegal pharmaceutical products

Africa - 22 September 2014

September 22th 2014 - www.iracm.com

From May 26th to June 4th was conducted the Biyela 2 operation by the World Customs Organization and the Anti-counterfeiting Drug Research Institute (IRACM) on the African continent. This operation led to the interception and the seizure of more than 113 million of counterfeited and illegal pharmaceutical products in 122 intercepted containers.

This operation was conducted in 15 major ports of the African continent, the Benin being the country suffering the most from counterfeited medicines and representing over 49% of the total amount of the seized products, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo just behind, representing respectively 24% and 11% of the total amount of the seized products.

Of these 113 million counterfeited medicines, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tuberculosis are the most present, corresponding to 2/3 of the confiscated medicines.

Enforcement: FedEx charged in another counterfeited drug transport case

United States - 16 September 2014

September 16th, 2014 - www.iracm.com

Last month, FedEx was indicted for transporting medicines from illegal online pharmacies, and prosecuted for providing medicines without prescription. On Friday 15 Aug. 2014, the company has faced a new charge for having “accepted payment from several pharmacies when it knew the money was the product of unauthorized prescriptions”. The 17th of July, FedEx had already been charged and prosecuted by the American justice for having facilitated the delivery of counterfeited medicines from online pharmacies between 2000 and 2010, and was risking a 820 million dollar fine. FedEx pleaded non-guilty; however, if the company is recognized guilty it will have to pay a 1.6 billion dollar fine.

Enforcement: An international raid was led in order to fight against a counterfeit drug trafficking in the European Union

Europe - 07 September 2014

September 7, 2014 - www.iracm.com

Europol (the office for police cooperation) and Eurojust (the office for judiciary cooperation), have announced on the 1st of September, the success of an intervention against a counterfeited drugs trafficking. The intervention resulted in the seizing of several millions of counterfeited pills of Viagra at an estimated value of over 10 million euros, of more than 7.5 million euros on bank accounts, and of several luxury cars.

This intervention led conjointly by the Cypriot, Austrian, Hungarian, Belgium and British police forces, has led to the arrest of 12 dealers who were importing counterfeited medicines form China in order to smuggle them into the European market.

Communication/Conferences: .pharmacy web address to go live in early 2015

United States - 05 September 2014

September 5, 2014 - www.pharmaceutical-journal.com

The National association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), an American and independent association which goal is to ensure the protection of public health reported that the .pharmacy domain will be open by the end of 2014 in the United States. The aim of this domain is to contribute to protect patients against the illegal online sale of medicines, often counterfeited. The use of .pharmacy domain will be restricted to operators that meet the internet pharmacy practice regulation in the countries where they operate.

Communication/Conference: The action of the French government to fight against counterfeiting

France - 02 September 2014

September 2nd, 2014 - www.ccomptes.fr

The Court of Auditors (a French political institution), has published the 2nd of September six recommendations in order to strengthen the efficiency of the public action against counterfeiting.

  • recommendation n° 1 : proceed in collaboration with the national anti-counterfeiting committee, to an objective analysis of the national and sectorial economic consequences of counterfeiting.
  • recommendation n°2 : create an institution, at the interdepartmental level, for strategic thinking and operational governance of the fight against counterfeiting.
  • recommendation n°3 : strengthen the role of the national anti-counterfeiting committee.
  • recommendation n°4 : adopt, at the European Union level, a text of law that would reestablish the control of customs over the borders for a better control of the traffic and transition of goods.
  • recommendation n°5 : make sure that no territorial region of production of counterfeited products could escape from the control of public agents and possible repressive actions.
  • recommendation n°6 : give the justice the means to sanction more often and with more severity the crime of counterfeiting.

Communication/Conferences: FDA warns against illicit Ebola treatments sold online

USA - 14 August 2014

August 14, 2014 - www.fda.gov

The Food and Drug Agency warns the US consumers about the online selling of treatments claiming to prevent or cure the Ebola virus. To date, the FDA did not give its agreement to any treatments against the virus.
According to the last assessment of the WHO (stopped on August 20th), Ebola made at least 1 427 deaths on a total of 2 615 cases (confirmed, likely or suspicious): 624 in Liberia, 406 in Guinea, 392 in Sierra Leone and 5 in Nigeria.

Communication/Conferences: The Republic of Moldova ratified the Medicrime Convention

Europe - 14 August 2014

August 14, 2014 - www.fondationchirac.eu

The 14th of August 2014, the Republic of Moldova ratified the Medicrime Convention of the Council of Europe on counterfeiting of medical products. The Republic of Moldova is the 4th State to ratify the Medicrime Convention, after Ukraine Spain and Hungary. There is now only one more ratification needed, from a member or non-member State of the Council of Europe, in order for the first criminal tool in the fight against the drugs counterfeiting to be effective.

Communication/Conferences: Google is going to invest 250 million $ to fight against illegal pharmacies online

World - 09 August 2014

August 9, 2014 - www.challenges.fr (in French)

Having been accused in 2011 of not fighting effectively against the sale of fake medicines online, Google makes a commitment to finance a program at the level of 50 million dollars a year for 5 years. It will be a question of setting up solutions to counter the broadcasting of advertisements of illegal online pharmacies selling counterfeit/illicit medicines.

Enforcement: The increase in the seizures of counterfeit medicines worries

Belgium - 07 August 2014

August 7, 2014 - www.iracm.com

The Belgian customs seized 1 511 300 counterfeit medicines in 2013. It represents a strong increase since 2012 when only 6 421 fakes had been intercepted. This important gap is understandable by the important seizures realized during the operation Pangea and by the implementation of a unit of fight against the sale and the import of illicit products by Internet.
In great majority, the seizures concerned treatments for diabetes, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunctions.

Communication/Conferences: “Fight the Fakes” campaign proposes travel tips to avoid fake medicines on holiday, particularly abroad

World - 01 August 2014

August 1, 2014 - The full list of tips: www.iracm.com

Here are some chosen tips find in the report from “Fight the Fakes” campaign:

  • If you’re on medication, take enough to last you for the duration of your trip.
  • Be sure to check the expiration date & dosage of medicine, no matter where you are.
  • Call your embassy for a list of certified pharmacies.
  • Only buy medicines from official & licenced retailers, whichever country you are in.
  • Be suspicious of tablets that have a peculiar odor, taste, or color, or that are extremely brittle.

Communication/Conferences: EU customs 2013 results

Europe - 31 July 2014

July 31, 2014 - The report: www.ec.europa.eu

In 2013, the EU customs authorities detained nearly 36 million articles. 10% of the overall amount were medicines and medical devices. The retail value original medical products is € 11,974,020. This amount confirms medicines are still one of the main products counterfeit in the region.
The countries of provenance for these fake medicines are China (65.30%), India (22.78%) and Czech Republic (5.23%). Comparing number of articles seized with means of transport; shipping (62,62%) is the most used mean of transport, followed by freight (11,92%). The postal traffic (post and express) is the main means of shipment used with 19.14%.

Enforcement: 10 years of prison for having sold a counterfeit syrup leading to the death of hundreds of children

Bangladesh - 31 July 2014

July 31, 2014 - www.iracm.com

A court sentenced three Bangladeshi on July 22, 2014, in Dhaka to a penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for producing and selling a toxic paracetamol syrup that killed hundreds of children in the 90s. They have been accused of replacing syrup’s ingredient with a cheaper alternative (diethylene glycol) used in leather dyeing industry. More than 300 children died from renal failure.

Communication/Conferences: A significant increase in seizures of illicit pharmaceuticals by customs in 2013

World - 18 July 2014

July 18, 2014 - www.iracm.com

WCO’s report 2013
In its illicit trade report 2013, the World Customs Organization (WCO) reported a significant increase in seizures of illicit pharmaceuticals by customs in 2013. Illicit medicines are the main products, infringing intellectual property rights, with 3 billion of counterfeit products seized by the customs. In second rank, electronic devices recorded a total of 470 million pieces seized. India and China are the top exporters of counterfeit and illicit medicines. The United States, Saudi Arabia and Italia are the main countries targeted by this phenomenon.

Enforcement: FedEx is accused of transporting illicit pharmaceutical products

USA - 17 July 2014

July 17, 2014 - www.justice.gov

A survey, led from 2000 till 2010, highlighted that the carrier delivered illicit pharmaceutical products sold by illegal on-line pharmacies. The company, which risks a 1.6$ billion fine is going to appear in front of the Federal Court of San Francisco. The US authorities, Food and Drug Agency (FDA) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had already warned FedEx in 2004.
In certain cases, the retailers and the consumers of illicit and/or sold medicine only on prescription, made deliver the goods on a parking or in a public place and threatened the drivers of the transport FedEx. According to the survey, the carrier knew about these practices but continued its deliveries.

Enforcement: What sentence(s) for a trafficker of counterfeit medicines in the United States?

USA - 17 July 2014

July 17, 2014 - www.yumanewsnow.com

A citizen of the State of the Illinois, already arrested for trafficking of counterfeit medicines, recently took the rap of a punishment of 41 months of detention to which are added 3 years of release on probation and about $62.000 of fines and compensations. The trafficker imported, since China, more than 25.000 counterfeit pills of Viagra. Once in Chicago, counterfeit medicines were partially sent in Houston (Texas) to supply the network of an accomplice.

Enforcement: Canadian authorities suspend Web pharmacy’s licence of one of the most important online pharmacy

Canada - 19 June 2014

June 19, 2014 - www.theglobeandmail.com

Ottawa has temporarily pulled the licence of one of Canada’s largest Internet pharmacies after an inspection turned up “significant concerns” with the company’s wholesale operations, but the decision has no bearing on the company’s ability to sell hundreds of different drugs directly to patients over the Web. During a routine inspection, the regulator found injectable drugs that were frozen when they should not have been. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already kept a close eye on Canada’s Internet pharmacies. In September, 2012, the FDA sent a warning letter to Canadadrugs.com asking it to stop selling “unapproved” and “misbranded” drugs to customers in the U.S. under hundreds of Internet domains with names such as cheapmedscan.com, medsforamerica.com and PayLessMeds.com.

Communication/Conferences: US FDA Gives Tips on Spotting Fake Medicines (1/2)

United States - 13 June 2014

June 13, 2014 - www.fightthefakes.org

The FDA advises medicines supply chain stakeholders, which includes wholesalers, regulatory officials, care-givers and patients, to make note of potential signs of suspicious medicines, including:

  • Product labeling that contains misspelled words or looks different from the standard labeling
  • The finished product is a different shape or color from the standard product or has an unusual odor
  • The packaging is missing identifying information such as the lot number or expiration date
  • The original packaging seals have been opened, damaged, repaired or altered.

Communication/Conferences: US FDA Gives Tips on Spotting Fake Medicines (2/2)

United States - 13 June 2014

June 13, 2014 - www.fightthefakes.org

As advised by the FDA, if buying drugs from a source that could have a much higher chance of selling fake medicines, we must all be especially vigilant. This would include:

  • Purchasing drugs from a new source
  • Responding to an unsolicited offer, usually with a significantly lower price, that comes through an advertisement, email, fax or telephone call
  • Purchasing a product on the Internet from an unknown source
  • Purchasing a product that is in high demand or one that is on the drug shortage list.

Legislation: Internet - Legiscript says that withdrawing Internet Merchant Anonymity Policy could help to fight against counterfeit medicines online

June 9, 2014 - blog.legitscript.com

According to Legiscript, withdraw the possibility of being anonymous online for the merchants could enhance consumer’s security when they buy medicines online. Indeed, many illicit online pharmacies anonymize their information in order to escape from potential surveys and lawsuits. By paying $9.95 a year, counterfeiters can hide their identity by using a proxy service for example.

Communication/Conference: Sanofi has won the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Award

World - 06 June 2014

June 6, 2014 - www.gacg.org

On the 5th of June, SANOFI received the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Award during the world anti-counterfeiting day. SANOFI has consistently and variously initiated campaigns and actions against fake medicine with educational programmes, brochures, online guidance, awareness events, training and technical co-operation with public/private partnerships.

Enforcement: Ministry of Health: 60% of counterfeit drugs produced in Russia

Russia - 06 June 2014

June 6, 2014 - www.primorye24.ru

In 2013, according to the Ministry of Health, 1103 series of substandard drugs have been withdrawn from circulation in Russia. 60% of them were domestic production. Most of the rejected drugs are products manufactured by old companies that have been modernized since Soviet times.

Communication/Conference: According to Sanofi, OTC Cialis could help tackle fakes

World - 05 June 2014

June 5, 2014 - www.securingindustry.com

Sanofi and Eli Lilly have signed an agreement to develop an over-the-counter (OTC) version of the worldwide leading treatment of erectile dysfunction Cialis. The prescription only erectile dysfunction medicines under prescription (such as Pfizer's Viagra and Bayer/GlaxoSmithKline's Levitra) are among the most counterfeit medicines around the world.

Communication/Conferences: New CFDA app on mobile devices available for online checks and news about fake drugs

China - 04 June 2014

June 4, 2014 - www.eng.sfda.gov.cn

Chinese FDA launched an app on Android and IPhone allowing consumers to stay informed about any news on the matter of fake drugs and get information about products they’re looking to purchase, by entering the number of registration, the name of the company or any other key words.

Enforcement: Massive seizure from China

Spain - 28 May 2014

May 28, 2014 - uk.news.yahoo.com

The Spanish authorities arrested 13 people suspecting of counterfeiting. They seized nearly 420,000 fake pills in national airports. The seizure of fake medicines included contraceptives, weight loss pills, vitamins, steroids, pain killers and Viagra. Spanish police and custom authorities gave international law enforcement agency Interpol the web IP addresses of 113 websites that illegally distributed medicines.

Communication/Conferences: Counterfeit and fake drugs: a public health and safety challenge

World - 22 May 2014

May 22, 2014 - www.delegfrance-onu-vienne.org

On May 13 in Vienna, France and the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (ONUDC) have organized the conference “Organized crime and illicit trade of counterfeit goods and fake medicines – A challenge for public health and safety”. They concluded that a law model is needed about counterfeit drugs, in order to help the States to adapt their legislative framework to the threat.

Communication/Conferences: Operation Pangea VII

World - 22 May 2014

May 22, 2014 - www.interpol.int

The operation Pangea VII was coordinated by Interpol, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Head of Medicine Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (HMA/WGEO) and supported by pharmaceutical industries. From 13 to 20th May 2014, in 111 countries, the authorities seized 9,4 million of counterfeit or illicit medicines. Furthermore, an estimated 11.000 illegal websites were shut down and 19.000 online advertisements were deleted. This operation targeted especially the social networks, the systems of online payment, the electronic message services and the postal centers.

Communication/Conferences: European citizens and the counterfeit medicines

Europe - 21 May 2014

May 21, 2014 - www.securingindustry.com

According to a recent survey lead by the French pharmaceutical laboratory Sanofi, Out of 1 European on 5 links counterfeiting to medicines. 77% of people think that they are not sufficiently informed on counterfeiting medicines issues but most of them (96%) consider this phenomenon as a threat for health. The survey gathered more than 5.000 consumers coming from France, Germany, Italia, Spain or UK.

Communication/Conference: Only 20% of Europeans associate counterfeiting with medicines

France - 15 May 2014

May 15, 2014 - Read the Press Release

Committed to the fight against counterfeiting for many years, Sanofi now reveals how Europeans perceive counterfeit drugs through a survey of 5,010 people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. According to the survey conducted by happy curious for Sanofi, only 20% of Europeans associate counterfeiting with medicines

Enforcement: Chinese authorities warn on counterfeit anti-cancer

China - 09 May 2014

May 9, 2014 - usa.chinadaily.com.cn

China’s food and drug authority warns on overseas medicines sold online. An investigation has been led in the province of Shenzhen and said that 75% of foreign generic anti-cancer drugs are counterfeit. The price of certain medicines in the domestic market is the main raison of the online buying. According to the authorities, most of the medicines sold online are imported from India.

Enforcement: Increase of the complaints against the purchases of false online medicine in China

China - 01 May 2014

May 1st, 2014 - www.iracm.com

The online platform of the Chinese health agency has listed since the beginning of the year more than 12 320 complaints linked to the online sale of counterfeit medicines and medical devices. It registred the Chinese consumers complains. In 2013, more than 210 000 complaints were deposited.

Legislation: General attorneys asked Google to block the illegal online pharmacies.

USA - 18 April 2014

April 18, 2014 - www.safemedicines.org

24 American general attorneys are at the origin of a letter claimant, on behalf of Google, the blocking of the illegal online pharmacies. Engineers of Google work to list keywords as "on-line pharmacy” or "no prescription " and to block the deceitful sites.

Enforcement: Analgesics and antibiotics are the most counterfeit medicines in Colombia

Colombia - 14 April 2014

April 14, 2014 - www.adit.fr/en

According to the Drug Directorate of the Surveillance Institute and Food and Drug Control (INVIMA) analgesics and antibiotics are the main targets of the counterfeiters in Colombia. Indeed, they adapted their traffics on the demand that exists in the market. In March 2014, the Bogota Metropolitan police put an end to a traffic of counterfeit medicines including pediatrics medicines, soothing syrups or sexual enhancers.

Communication/Conferences: The EU launches a new project to fight counterfeit medicines in developing countries.

April 11, 2014 - www.iracm.com

On April 7th, 2014, on the occasion of the world Day of the Health, the European Union launched a new project aiming at supporting the fight against the production and the traffic of counterfeit medicines in Cameroon, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco and Senegal. Indeed, these countries are situated along two main ways for the production and the traffic of counterfeit medicines. The European Commission finances the project at the level of 4 million euro over 3 years. This project aims at setting up tools for the authorities and harmonized legal frame.

Enforcement: Record haul of counterfeit medicines

France - 11 April 2014

April 11, 2014 - au.news.yahoo.com

2.4 million of counterfeit medicines were seized by French customs at the end of February 2014 in the commercial port of Le Havre (Normandy). The counterfeit products were labelled as Chinese tea. Some of the drugs contain no active ingredients or glucose for example. It represents an important increasing in seizure of counterfeit medicines. The previous record seizure in Europe was for 1.2 million doses of counterfeit medicines, also made in the port of Le Havre, in May 2013.

Legislation: Members of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee are advocating increasing of the legal sanctions against counterfeit medicines sellers.

USA - 09 April 2014

April 9, 2014 - jama.jamanetwork.com

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, people who counterfeit drugs face a maximum penalty of $10 000 or 3 years in prison. These penalties have never been updated since 1938. There is a major legal weakness; criminals found to be selling illegal narcotics can be sentenced to as much as life in prison or fined millions of dollars. But the return on counterfeit drugs may be ten times greater than that of narcotics. So, counterfeiting medicines is more profitable and secure for them. But there is an equal risk for public health. According to estimations, there were more than 36 000 illegal online pharmacies in operation in the US. A legislative input should help authorities to fight against this major risk.

Communication/Conferences: The requirement for an international treaty on counterfeit medicines

April 2, 2014 - fightthefakes.org

The Global Forum on Access to Safe Medicines, took place in London from 2 to 4 April 2014. It grouped together numerous actors of the fight against counterfeit medicines; associations, customs officers, pharmaceutical industries, doctors. During this forum, Bernard Leroy, head of the IRCAM, pleaded in favor of an international treaty on counterfeit medicines. An international harmonization of the laws and definitions of this practice would help the authorities in their fight.

Enforcement: USA – Drop in seizures of counterfeit medicines

United States - 29 March 2014

March 29, 2014 – www.freep.com

Despite a 38.1% increase in counterfeit seizures in the U.S. between 2012 and 2013, seizures of counterfeit medicines decreased.

Since 2008, counterfeit drugs seizures in the U.S showed a sharp increase. From 2012 to 2013 the first drop of 4% of the value of seizures related to pharmaceuticals and care of people goods marked a stop in this alarming rise. From 2011 to 2013, the value of seizures recorded dropped by 44%. Activism of the authorities, resolved to fight against this public health issue, and increased operations struggles implemented by customs are largely responsible for this step in the fight against counterfeit medicines in the U.S. India and China are the main providers for the U.S market of counterfeit medicines.

Communication/Conferences: 3rd Pharmacrime Conference from 26 to 27 March 2014 (Lyon, France)

France - 28 March 2014

March 28, 2014 – www.contrefacon-riposte.info

The Pharmacrime Conference is an initiative of the Research Institute Anti-Counterfeit Drugs, in collaboration with the European Commission. The third Pharmacrime Conference finalized a major European project in the fight against counterfeit medicines. Experts in health, customs and police officers from 27 member states toiled to improve the effectiveness of investigations used in the fight against counterfeit medicines in Europe. A major challenge was the standardization of investigation methods in Europe. An operational guide for investigators will be released in June 2014. It aims in particular the issue of the introduction of counterfeit medicines in the EU legal supply chain.

Communication/Conferences: Customs result 2013

France - 12 March 2014

March 12, 2014 - www.douane.gouv.fr

The French Customs published the 2013 report: among 7.6 million of counterfeit goods seized, 1.354.705 were counterfeit medicines. In order to mitigate the impact of counterfeit medicines on public health, three protocols were signed by the Customs and health professionals’ representative institutions.

Communication/Conferences: How Google is trying to protect your drug supply

United States - 05 March 2014

March 5, 2014 - Nationaljournal.com

Illegal online pharmacies are a particularly dangerous and elusive sector of the growing problem of counterfeit drugs.

As a result, major Internet players—including Google—are working with the federal government to battle the problem. Aiming to pinpoint and verify every alleged online pharmacy is near-impossible, so the focus is instead on limiting their use through consumer education, restricting their appearance in Internet searches, and enforcing harsher punishment.

Enforcement: In Belorussia, we sell drugs that are forbidden in developed countries

Belorussia - 18 February 2014

February 18, 2014 - Health.ej.by

Belorussia has one of the most drastic approaches concerning the quality control of drugs on its territory, and that it is almost impossible to buy counterfeit or harmful medicine in Belorussian drugstore. Nevertheless, some medicines banned in developed countries and considered dangerous to health are sold in Belorussia. The following drugs are quoted: Analginum, Spazmalgon, Baralgin , Benalgin, Baralgetas, Tempalgin, Ketarolak.

Legislation: Ukraine will introduce a new system to struggle against counterfeits drugs

Ukraine - 18 February 2014

February 18, 2014 – delate.info

Ukraine plans to introduce a system to fight counterfeit and expired drugs. Each drug will receive its own QR code that will provide all the necessary information: Date of production, producer, dealer, pharmacy where the drug was sold… This system aims to help the “Governmental Drugs Service” to be more efficient in the frame of its struggle against expired and counterfeit drugs. The system should be introduced in early 2017.

Communications/Conferences: Launch of a new website aimed at Member States have ratified the Convention Medicrime

January 29, 2014 – edqm.eu

The European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQM) launched on January 29, a site dedicated to his publications in the field of counterfeit medicines and similar crimes. This new site features include a strategic and a series of key measures to Member States which have ratified the Council of Europe approach. Available online, this guide includes a strategy to assist the authorities in reviewing their legislation on drugs, public health and criminal law.

Enforcement: 3 global agencies involved in the fight against counterfeiting

January 28, 2014 – lillypad.lilly.com

Last month, 706 sites selling counterfeit goods, including pharmaceuticals were closed, through the union of several international organizations enforcement. This great victory, conducted under project Cyber Monday is the result of a partnership between the United States and many international organizations, which have already led since 2010 to the closure of more than 2,000 counterfeit sites.


The success of this campaign put the spotlight on the fight against counterfeit drugs, conducted annually in more and more countries.

Enforcement: Turkey - A network of fake drugs against cancer dismantled

Turkey - 16 January 2014

January 16, 2014 – turkishweekly.net

The efforts of the Turkish government to stop the sales of counterfeit drugs continued last month, with a series of operations in nine cities against a group accused of selling fake drugs against cancer. According to the police, the markets targeted by the group included Turkey, the United States and other countries. The criminal organization operated by tracking cancer patients, and selling a portion of fake drugs in front of hospitals, the other part being sold directly with pharmacies. The members of this group were able to produce fake drugs against flu and cancer, and also repack and sell expired medications.

The 95 patients whose health has been affected by these fake drugs have brought complaints against counterfeiters.

Communication/Conference: UNODC launches an awareness campaign on the 250 billion $ generated annually by counterfeiting

January 14, 2014 – ONUDC.COM

A new global campaign initiated by UNODC was launched today to raise awareness among consumers about 250 billion $ annually under the smuggling of counterfeit goods. The campaign "Counterfeiting: Do not support organized crime" - makes consumers aware that the purchase of counterfeit goods can be a source of funding for organized crime groups, putting the health and safety of consumers at risk and causes of other ethical and environmental concerns. Fraudulent medications also pose a serious risk to the health of consumers. Criminal activity in this area is of great magnitude: selling fraudulent medications East Asia and the Pacific to Southeast Asia and Africa stands alone 5 billion dollars per year, a considerable sum introduced into the illicit economy.

Legislation: USA – Guilty plea for illegal importation of counterfeit drugs

USA - 11 January 2014

January 11, 2014 – yourhoustonnews.com

A 45 years old man recently pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy related to the illegal importation and attempted trafficking of counterfeit drugs and one count of receiving and delivering of misbranded drugs, announced an United States attorney. On Pakistani origin, this legal permanant resident admitted conspiring to illegally import counterfeit drugs mislabeled up to his home in Houston. A total of some 3,200 counterfeit Viagra and 4000 Cialis were sent from China. According to a Special agent from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) "This conviction is the culmination of a multi-agency effort to prevent the smuggling and distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals across international borders".

Legislation: U.S. compounding pharmacies start to register with FDA

United States - 10 January 2014

January 10, 2014 - Reuters.com

11 US compounding pharmacies have begun registering with the Food and Drug Administration under new legislation designed to tighten control of the custom medication makers following a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to a pharmacy in Massachusetts.


Communications/Conferences: Indonesia - BPOM agrees to curb the sale of drugs online

Indonesia - 09 January 2014

January 9, 2014 – thejakartapost.com

The Indonesian Authority Food and Drug Administration (BPOM) should intensify measures to curb drug sales online this year, after seeing a sharp rise in sales of fake drugs on the internet in the last three years. For the President of the BPOM, Roy A. Sparringa, the crackdown on sales of fake drugs on the internet is one of the biggest challenges the agency is facing, particularly because of the rapid development of technologies, and tenacity of the dealers to always find new ways to sell their products online, even after the closure of their sites.
In 2013, 721 types of illegal and counterfeit medicines were sold through 129 sites in Indonesia, worth about $ 450,000 dollars.

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