The volume of counterfeit medicinal products seized by EU customs controls has increased dramatically in 2006 according to a report from the European Commission.
In 2006, the European customs controls seized more than four times as many counterfeit medicinal products compared with 2005.
Figure 1: Increase in the volume of counterfeit medicines seized by EU customs controls.
In 2005, a total of 560,598 articles 1 distributed on 148 cases were seized. This figure increased in 2006 by 484 percent to 2,711,410 articles distributed on 497 cases.
Much counterfeit medicine comes from China and India
In general, China is the main source for counterfeit goods. In 2006, more than 80 percent of all counterfeit goods seized by the customs authorities came from China . India is the number one source for counterfeit medicinal products followed by the United Arab Emirates and China . More than 80 percent of all counterfeit medicines seized in 2006 came from either of these three countries.
The internet - a catalyst for selling counterfeit goods
The increase in the number of goods seized in customs may be explained by several factors. One obvious reason is that the import of counterfeit goods receives increased attention. For example, Germany has sharpened its focus on counterfeit goods and has experienced an increase in the number of counterfeit goods seized. The German customs authorities seized a total of 15,500,000 articles in 2005, however, seized 140,000,000 articles in 2006. In India, from where the majority of counterfeit medicines originates, it appears as if the manufacturing of counterfeit goods has turned into an actual industry.
At the same time, more and more people buy goods via the internet. This means that it becomes increasingly difficult to trace counterfeit goods back to their country of manufacturing since they are not distributed to the end-market directly.
The Danish Medicines Agency is an active player in a network against counterfeit medicinal products
The Danish Medicines Agency has taken the initiative to build a network against counterfeit medicine both in Denmark and internationally. The network is made up of authorities, industrial associations and all links in the supply chain. The network meets regularly to discuss issues related to counterfeit medicinal products to initiate local and cross-cutting precautionary measures.
We wish to inform consumers of the risk of counterfeit and illegal medicinal products. One way of doing this is our national campaign “Take care of yourself – also when you take medicine”, see the factbox to the right.
Read the EU customs report for 2006 in its entirety by clicking the document in the factbox to the right.
For further information, please contact Rikke Bækgaard Thomassen, telephone +45 4488 9160.
The Danish Medicines Agency, 17 July 2007.
Note: An article may be a pill, an ampoule or a tube.