The simultaneous explosion in the 2000s of e-commerce and counterfeit medical products is not a coincidence.
Access to medication
Malaria is a potentially deadly disease due to parasites such as Plasmodium transmitted to humans by the infected female Anopheles mosquito.
Economically developed countries tend to believe that only "social" or "comfort" drugs ared counterfeited. Reality is quite different. Far from being limited to a single category, counterfeiting extends to all types of drugs. The fact that they are considered vital or subject to mandatory prescription is of little importance to criminals, who only see a highly profitable business opportunity.
Medicines are not like other products. The standard notion of "counterfeit" focuses on the infringement of intellectual and/or industrial property, ignoring the public health consequences of falsified medicines. Indeed, counterfeit medicines do not represent the same stakes as other consumer products. It is the health and often the lives of users that is endangered.
Counterfeit medical products constitute a lucrative trade in full expansion that concerns 10% of the world medical market according to the WHO. Though it is more profitable than the illegal drug trade, counterfeiters risk much lighter sentences, even though legislation does exist to punish them. A notable exception would be certain African countries where there is an utter legal void in terms of counterfeit products.
At the start of the 2000s, the WHO analyzed seizures around the world and estimated 60% of counterfeit medical products were destined for developing countries, while 40% were for developed countries.
The IRACM (International Institute of Research against Counterfeit Medicine) has posted on its internet site an interactive e-course on the dangers of falsified medicinal products.
THE HEADS OF STATES AND GOVERNMENTS OF THE FRANCOPHONIE HAVE ADOPTED A RESOLUTION AGAINST THE TRAFFIC OF FALSIFIED MEDICINES AND MEDICAL PRODUCTS DURING THE XVth SUMMIT OF THE FRANCOPHONIE, HELD ON NOVEMBER 29 AND 30, 2014 IN DAKAR.
THE WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION (WCO) SENT OUT A PRESS RELEASE ON OPERATION BINYA 2 ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2014. THE OPERATION WAS CARRIED OUT ON MAY 26 and JUNE 4, 2014 IN 15 PORTS THROUGHOUT AFRICA
Sidi Touré, the Malian singer, warns against falsified medicines with his song "Les médicaments de la rue".