The world has fought battles against drug counterfeiting for decades. Different government entities, private institutions, non-profit organizations and civilians continuously hold seminars, workshops and awareness campaigns to promote concrete law enforcement action in the field with the ultimate aim to obliterate drug counterfeiting and place behind bars fraudsters responsible for the increasing mortality rate caused by substandard and dangerous medicines.
Health advocate, Marie Pollack of The Peterson Group, an NGO campaigning against drug fraudulence in the Asia Pacific region stated, “Medicines were once trusted to cure people from their maladies. Now, it is being feared”. The increasing adaptation to herbal and alternative medicine shows that people are starting to doubt their confidence. The efficacy of the medicine being brought in the market and presented to people is being questioned.
Pollack added, “It is good that people are being cautious of their own choices but if this continues, credibility of scientifically tested medicines which underwent several methods of experimentations to prove its effectiveness would come to waste, not to mention the economic impact in the health sector”.
Fortunately, the authorities are never stopping their campaign to arrest the fraudsters behind this cruel illegal practice. With the likes of World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Interpol, other NGOs and local government units having the same cause are supported with ‘interventions package’ for all stages of an investigation from gathering intelligence, planning and implementing an operation, through to legal issues for cases that are brought to court.
Dozens of operations were already held in the last previous years to determine the illegal manufacturers and masterminds of this deadly trade. Interpol, for instance, has launched different actions in different regions of the world. Their flagship operations - Storm (Southeast Asia), Mamba (Eastern Africa) and Pangea (targeting the Internet) – continue to go from strength to strength. Successive raids on licit and illicit markets have shown improved results in terms of seizures, arrests, convictions and the closure of illicit websites.
Several other operations are being conducted. In developing countries, WHO has headed countless arrests and ambush procedures. For instances, last year, WHO, TPG and local authorities of Jakarta, seized more than 300 packs of counterfeit Viagra and Cialis in a dilapidated building in Menteng, Indonesia. In Europe, customs officers seized 34 million counterfeit pills in just two months while China has closed down 2,000 websites offering online prescriptions.