Fake medicine ‘as bad as terror’ - world customs body chief
The World Customs Organization sees counterfeit medicine being spread in Europe and beyond as a problem as serious as terrorism, its secretary general Michel Danet says.
The group plans to organize conferences and seminars in Malaysia, UAE, France and other countries dedicated to fighting the spread of such products, he told a news conference as a two-day international conference on related issues started in Baku on Thursday.
Danet said research conducted in 27 countries has revealed that over 60% of substandard drugs originates in India.
“Businesses producing counterfeit medicine were also found in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Brazil, Nigeria, and Italy. The problem we face is chiefly caused by producing countries and we are trying to solve it jointly with their governments.
“Most of this produce is sold through the Internet. I insist that such products should not be purchased on the Web,” the customs body chief said.
Danet noted that as much as 7-8% of the total profits around the world, or 500 billion Euros, is made by producers of fake drugs.
“This is a horrifying indicator and relevant agencies of all countries should unite to address the problem,” he added.
The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretary General Khurshud Anwer told reporters that 10% of medicine currently available around the world is counterfeit. In some countries, the figure is over 50%, which causes deaths. As many as two million people have died worldwide of consuming substandard drugs.
Anwer added that 60% of the spread of counterfeit medicine occurs on developing countries.
The head of WHO Collaborating Center for Drug Registration and Regulation, Amor Toumi, said that in most countries, fake medicine accounts for up to 30% of all available drugs, while in some countries the figure reaches 50%.*