Eastern Europe Toughening Stance on Fake Drugs

Eastern Europe plays a major role in the counterfeit drug trade, said experts at a recent regional meeting.

The two-day meeting was held in the capital of Romania, Bucharest, featured more than 120 anti-counterfeit specialists from Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, reports AFP.

Hungarian customs officer Karolyi Szep said that Eastern Europe was heavily used by counterfeit drug traffickers.

“There is an important Balkan route for fake medicines, which is the same as for heroin and other narcotics,” he told the news provider.

According to AFP, most counterfeit drugs are sold over the Internet. The World Health Organization says that half of the drugs sold from online pharmacies and other websites are fake.

A number of Eastern European nations have toughened their laws on counterfeit drugs, said Gabriel Turcu, a senior partner in leading European anti-counterfeiting network REACT.

“Years ago, judges would deem counterfeiting T-shirts or medicines was the same. Now their perception has changed,” he told the news source.

According to AFP, that for the first time ever drug counterfeiters caught in Romania were sentenced to prison.

Still, Turcu pointed out that there was a long way to go to completely rid the region of fake medicines, saying that “the countries lying on the European Union’s Eastern border are facing major challenges when it comes to fake goods smuggling.”