12.03.2013, Brussels: The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) welcomes today’s announcement of a new initiative from INTERPOL to fight the growing threat of fake medicines. The joint venture between INTERPOL and 29 major global pharmaceutical companies aims to protect the health of patients around the world by ensuring their access to safe and effective medicines.
The public and private sectors have joined together to launch the Pharmaceutical Industry Initiative to Combat Crime (PIICC) as an extension of the work done by INTERPOL’s Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime Unit (MPCPC). Costing EUR 4.5 million over a three-year period, the new programme is being funded largely by major players in the global biopharmaceutical industry.
PIICC will combat the counterfeiting of both generic and branded drugs, by targeting the organised crime networks behind this illegal activity. Activity will focus on supporting investigative work into pharmaceutical crime, and intensifying enforcement operations, capacity building, and collaborations to raise awareness of pharmaceutical crimes and counterfeit medicines.
EFPIA sees this initiative as a strong step towards protecting patients from the dangers of counterfeit medicines. As a growing threat on a global level, counterfeits threaten the wellbeing of millions of people and create millions in illicit profits every year.
The surge of illicit online pharmacies has contributed to the increasing risk of counterfeit medicines and is one area of focus for the INTERPOL initiative. Estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that medicines purchased from illicit internet websites concealing their physical address have been identified as counterfeit in more than 50 percent of cases.
At EU level, EFPIA is working to protect the EU market from falsified medicines through the European Stakeholder Model (ESM). This serialisation project is being developed in conjunction with the EAEPC (the European Licensed Parallel Distribution Industry), GIRP (Groupement International de la Répartition Pharmaceutique) and PGEU (Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union), respectively representing parallel distributors, wholesalers and pharmacists in the EU. ESM meets the requirements of the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) and offers a technological solution using 2D barcoding to verify the authenticity of medical products.
The threat of counterfeit medicines is not restricted to the EU or confined by any national borders: It is a global problem requiring a global approach. EFPIA supports the new venture between INTERPOL and international pharmaceutical companies as a step towards winning this battle.
EFPIA represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe. Through its direct membership of 33 national associations and 39 leading pharmaceutical companies, EFPIA provides the voice of 1,900 companies committed to researching, developing and bringing new medicines to improve health and quality of life around the world. The pharmaceutical industry invests 27.5 billion on research and development per year in Europe and directly employs 660,000 people including 116,000 in R&D units in Europe.
EFPIA members are committed to delivering innovative medicines to address unmet needs of patients and reducing the burden of chronic diseases for Europe’s ageing population. EFPIA believes in close cooperation with its stakeholders to help create sustainable healthcare systems and to develop prompt responses to health threats in Europe.
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