Cyntia Genolet, Policy Analyst with IFPMA, listed the dangers of counterfeit medicines and the threat they pose to public health. An infographic was created for the occasion, concisely presenting the Medicrime Convention’s key points.
Claude Debrulle, Honorary Chairman of the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Crime Problems, presented the 6 major advances brought about by the Medicrime Convention. They are the political opportunity symbolized by the first criminal law convention against counterfeit medicines, the acknowledgement of public health issues in the fight against counterfeit medical products, the establishment of a field of action that addresses the medical product as a whole, the obligation to establish a mechanism for international coordination and collaboration, the establishment of a monitoring mechanism for the Convention, and the possibility for states, which are not a member of the Council of Europe, to accede to the Convention.
Dr. Diakité Aboubaccar Sidiké, Inspector General of the Ministry of Health of Guinea, shared his country’s experience with the Medicrime Convention. He started by emphasizing the need for means to repress producers and traffickers of counterfeit medicines and ended by highlighting the current inadequacy of such means. Many states are interested in learning about the accession process to the Convention. However, because information is not readily available, political and legal action has not been taken.
Another obstacle is the preconceived notion that the Medicrime Convention is a trade agreement that would only benefit the pharmaceutical industry and the most developed countries. Another concern for certain States is the possibility that the processes and initiatives they have already undertaken could be undermined. Dr. Diakité formally dismissed any such assumptions.
Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Head of the International Affairs Division of the Swiss Federal Office of Health, then outlined Switzerland’s experience in order to offer a more global view of this epidemic. Even though a team with the authority of a federal administration is already at work, despite the fact that it is capable of seizing goods, that it can arrest counterfeiters and implement judicial proceedings in less than 48 hours, certain deficiencies remain.
The international cooperation requested by Medicrime would help progress by confirming the existence of a single point of centralization, giving States the responsibility and tools they need. In addition, a new article of the Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure will lighten the procedures that administrative authorities are required to carry out before a judge. This article is strengthened by enhanced collaboration with the private sector and longer custodial sentences for criminals.
After a discussion with the public, Professor Marc Gentilini concluded the conference by warning that complacency against producers and traffickers of counterfeit medicine is also criminal.