New initiative takes on counterfeit pharmaceuticals

August 11, 2003

Paris, 08 Aug 2003

Is this the real thing?

ICC's Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB), concerned about the rise of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, has launched an action plan to deal with what has become an increasingly global problem.

Peter Lowe of the CIB said: "The CIB Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals Initiative (CPI) introduces a number of communication-based objectives designed to attack the problem of fraudulent pharmaceuticals."

The CIB is part of Commercial Crime Services, a London-based specialized division of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Once viewed as an abuse found mainly in the developing world, illegal and counterfeit pharmaceuticals are now emerging as a growing abuse in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere.

"The upsurge of counterfeit pharmaceuticals is a health risk that is escalating the world over. We are now seeing very real threats in numerous industrialized nations," Mr Lowe added.

He pointed to last year's Global Forum on Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting as a catalyst for this new initiative. "In many ways, the high turn out and strong interest displayed there led to this new Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals Initiative," he said, "The Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals Initiative provides a direct response to public concerns regarding counterfeit medicine."

A recent survey of Russian citizens reflects growing public concern. The survey, conducted by the Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR), found that 90% of those surveyed thought counterfeit medicines were an important problem. Even more tellingly, 80% felt the issue was "personally very important" to them, and nine out of ten said they would like to receive more information from trusted sources about fake drugs.

In the United States, the US Food and Drug Administration has seen its counterfeit drug investigations increase to over 20 per year since 2000, after averaging only about five per year through the late 1990s.

One of the primary objectives of the new CIB initiative is to increase the collection and dissemination of information on counterfeit materials between law enforcement, pharmaceutical companies, the media, regulators, and customs officials worldwide. The CPI will try to decrease the traffic in fraudulent pharmaceuticals by opening channels of communication between these groups, and increasing investigation and protection efforts on a number of fronts. The initiative also makes use of the Internet, planning a web site to raise awareness, educate, inform and collect intelligence.

Since it was formed in 1985, the CIB has undertaken over 600 investigations into counterfeit products in more than 35 countries.

For more information, contact Peter Lowe at ICC Commercial Crime Services tel: +44 20 8591 3000 fax: +44 20 8594 2833, e-mail:

ICC Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB)

ICC Commercial Crime Services homepage

©2003 International Chamber of Commerce , The World Business Organization /2003/stories/pharmaceuticals.asp

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