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EUIPO-OECD: Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products - a Joint Study
A joint study on Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products has just been released by the EUIPO, through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, and the OECD, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The research is part of a series of studies on the global trade in counterfeit and pirated products, with the aim of analysing the impact on the economy and the share of international trade affected by the phenomenon.

According to this study, the overall value of counterfeit pharmaceuticals traded worldwide is estimated to be more than EUR 4.03 billion. Counterfeiters are attracted by this illicit market, given the high-profit margins but also the low risk of detection and prosecution, as well as the weak penalties. Consumers are also easily deceived into believing that counterfeit products are genuine.

Over the period 2014-2016, seized counterfeits included pharmaceuticals for serious diseases, like malaria, HIV/AIDS and cancer, as well as antibiotics, lifestyle drugs, pain killers, diabetes treatments and central nervous system medicines.

This counterfeit trade is also facilitated by the growth in small package shipments, which are more difficult for customs officers to detect. Between 2014-2016, 96% of all customs seizures of counterfeit pharmaceuticals were of postal or express courier deliveries.

The report shows that illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a growing problem, having risen from 2.5 % of world trade in 2013 to 3.3 % in 2016 and globalisation is opening up new opportunities for criminal networks.

Data, collected and processed by customs officers, comes from nearly half a million customs seizures from international enforcement agencies, including the World Customs Organization, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, and the United States Department of Homeland Security. The study also includes data from the Counterfeiting Incident System of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute and refers to research from the World Health Organization, among others.

The full study can be found HERE.

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