Flood of Counterfeit Drugs Confiscated by European Border Officials in 2011
A new report by the European Commission identified a 9-fold increase in counterfeit drug seizures in the EU since 2010.
In 2011, counterfeit drug enforcement in the European Union broke up counterfeit drug rings in Spain and the United Kingdom, identified fake HIV medication in the market and convicted fake asthma inhaler distributors in the UK. The new Report on EU Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights: Results At the EU Border-2011, showed "a continuous upward trend" in counterfeit medication confiscations at the border since 2010.
Larger batches of counterfeit medicines passed through customs in 2011. Though in 2011 only 682 additional cases were registered by Customs officials over the 2010 number of 1,812, the volume of articles within the the cases was approximately 9 times that of 2011. The report stated than more than 27 million counterfeit medicine articles were seized at EU borders in 2011, up from slightly more than 3 million in 2010.
Overall, counterfeit medicines were the most commonly confiscated items, with 24% of all seizure articles being counterfeit drugs. 96.4% of all counterfeit medical products were shipped from either China or India, with 68% from China, and an additional 28% from India. The majority of detained items across all categories, 73%, were shipped from China. In total, over 100 million fake goods were detained at EU borders in 2011.
The MHRA's Falsified Medical Products Strategy: 2012-2015 report has noted a downward trend in falsified medical products entering the UK regulated suppy chain since 2007 and an upward trend of parallel exporting out of the UK of products. The report noted that European economic conditions made "medical products more expensive in other EU countries and therefore those markets are more attractive those supplying falsified medical products."
Learn more about the MHRA's policy on falsified medications at the 2012 Interchange in Washington DC on September 26th, where Gerald Heddell, MHRA Director of Inspection, Enforcement and Standards will be speaking.
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