Extreme Rise in Drugs Detained by EU Authorities

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

A new report from the European Commission show a significant increase in the amount of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringements between 2007 and 2008, including a 57% increase in the number of counterfeit medicine cases between the two years.

A new report from the European Commission (EC) shows a significant increase in the amount of intellectual-property rights (IPR) infringements that occured between 2007 and 2008, including a 57% increase in the number of counterfeit medicine cases between the two years. The number of drugs detained by European Union (EU) customs authorities also rose by 118%. In fact, pharmaceuticals now represent the third largest product category (after CDs/DVDs and cigarettes) intercepted at the EU’s external borders.
 
The publication, Report On EU Customs Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, was issued by the EC's Taxation and Customs Union on July 10. Additional findings show that most IPR-infringing articles (54% of the total amount) came from China, according to an EU press release. With regard to detained medicines, however, less than 1% came from China; in this area, the majority originated in India (more than 50%) and Syria (more than 35%).
 
After the CD/DVD category, medicines had the second greatest increase in the number of detained articles. The report’s authors cite different reasons for this, including the EU-wide MEDI-FAKE action taken in autumn 2008, which led to the seizure of more than 34 million counterfeit pills.
 
"Combating trade of IPR-infringing goods remains a top priority for customs administrations in the EU. The 2009–2012 Customs Action Plan, endorsed by the Council in March, is particularly welcome as it responds to the main challenges identified by customs, namely the potential dangerous nature of counterfeit goods, the links to organized crime, the globalization of the issue, and, more recently, the increasing problems posed to customs by the sale of counterfeits over the Internet," said Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Laszlo Kovacs in the release.

Stephanie Sutton is an assistant editor for Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.