UNODC Report Highlights Lucrative Nature of Global Counterfeit Drug Trade
A recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) highlights why more counterfeit drug cases are appearing in news reports. Organized crime makes billions each year off of drug counterfeiting, amongst their other activities. The UNODC estimates global counterfeiting enterprises generate $250 billion (US) in annual profits.
Drugs are particularly lucrative to counterfeit, as they are small, made from whatever ingredients are handy (such as paint, drywall, acetone, antifreeze, & cheaper, unapproved drug ingredients), and they do not pass through rigorous testing and verification processes that genuine drugs must pass through. Special handling is not required for counterfeit drugs, since their manufacturers are not concerned with the fake drug’s efficacy or safety.
Gary Lewis, Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific, UN Office on Drugs and Crime recently spoke on Australian Public Radio about the global nature of counterfeit drug crime. Lewis said global “criminal groups profit from this (counterfeit drug sales) massively.”
For this reason, Lewis’ organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a global awareness effort focused specifically on what Lewis refers to as “the dark side of globalization”. The campaign has launched training and education focused on increasing surveillance at ports worldwide, and a public awareness campaign to engage the public on how to avoid buying into organized crime businesses.
Global awareness of the counterfeit drug trade is one of the topics of the 2012 Interchange on September 28, and will be focused upon at the 2pm session, "Drawing Outside Domestic Lines: International Cooperation." The Interchange, at the National Press Club, in Washington, DC, is a full day conference of policymakers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, patient advocates, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and anti-counterfeiting companies discussing the safety, health, and legal issues of counterfeit medications. Hear from policy makers worldwide as they discuss the global implications of medicine counterfeiting at the 2012 Interchange.
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