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Interchange 2014 Highlights: the WCO’s Samantha Gompel explained the organization’s efforts to secure and protect global supply chains.

Samantha Gompel, the Intellectual Property Rights Communications Manager at the World Customs Organization (WCO), described the WCO’s efforts to help its 179 members secure and protect supply chains throughout global trade.

Samantha Gompel, the Intellectual Property Rights Communications Manager at the World Customs Organization (WCO), described the WCO’s efforts to help its 179 members secure and protect supply chains throughout global trade. The IPR team raises awareness about the dangers of counterfeit products and how to detect them through seminars, enforcement operations. It also provides customs officers with its IPM tool, a database that provides information to distinguish counterfeit products from their legitimate counterparts.

Gompel also spoke about Operation Biyela I, an operation carried out in April 2013. Over 10 days, customs officials in 23 African countries confiscated 1.1 billion items of counterfeit illicit goods, half of which were medicines. “You may think,” said Gompel, “that the number one category of these products would be erectile dysfunction medicine, but not at all. The largest amounts were antibiotics, dietary supplements and antimalarial medicine, so of course the problem is touching all kinds of medicines.”

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