|In 2007, the OECD published a study to quantify and describe the phenomena of counterfeiting and piracy. It believed that these fraudulent activities accounted for nearly $ 200 billion per year. Medication is listed each year among the five most counterfeited products in the world. |
What is the reality of the traffic of falsified medicines?
The annual statistics published by the WCO in its report on the fight against counterfeiting and piracy can better quantify these phenomena. The amount of falsified drugs seized has increased by 300% between 2007 and 2008 and this trend continues in 2009. This helps us to better understand the frightening statistics published by the World Health Organization (WHO) that estimates nearly 200,000 deaths per year are due to the use of counterfeit products.
Moreover, we note that the least developed as well as developing countries are the preferred targets of counterfeiters. In some of these countries, the rate of falsified drugs consumed reaches nearly 30%!
What are the causes of this increase?
Counterfeiting must be understood as an ever-evolving issue: the nature of products, the routes used, the concealment techniques, these are all part of a pool of constantly changing data. In 2009, the fraud originated in or came from a hundred different countries and was sent out to over 120 countries.
The sale of falsified medicine on the internet is also a cause of this increase.
Finally, we must emphasize the profit made off the sale of these products. Today, a kilo of counterfeit drugs brings in more than one kilo of cannabis … and Customs dog teams can not detect them.
How much maneuvering room does the WCO have with governments?
The WCO is an intergovernmental organization, managed by its 176 members, with no binding powers. Its purpose is to optimize customs control while facilitating international trade. Its priority, with the help of the Japanese government, is capacity building. It assists its members with:
- Diagnostic missions that take into account the socio-economic conditions of each country and that examine its legislative arsenal, risk analysis, information exchange, as well as cooperation with the private sector and inspection authorities,
- Operational Seminars at the national or regional level through which new risk analysis techniques are presented and implemented in port and airport zones,
- Simultaneous inspection operations carried out at the regional or international levels. They mobilize several countries over a given period and implement inspection activities focused on products identified with specific risk indicators that help detect suspicious shipments.
This year, more than 140 countries have participated in this type of training.
The war against counterfeiting will only be won through better relationships between the private sector and customs administrations in developing capacity building programs and by making the fight against counterfeiting a political priority.
New signatories of the Cotonou Declaration
The President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy, wrote to President Chirac:
Key dates for this quarter