Developing expertise against the online trade of fake medicines by producing
and disseminating knowledge, counterstrategies and tools across the EU.
Project duration: 2015 > 2017
Partners: eCrime, Faculty of Law, University of Trento – Aifa – Teesside University – Rissc – Interpol – Iracm – Legitscript
With the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Home Affairs
What medicines are more exposed to counterfeiting and falsification?
The increasing presence of counterfeit and falsified medicines on both offline and online markets is becoming a major issue for Health Authorities and Law Enforcement agencies at a national and global level. In recent years, the Internet itself has contributed to completely change the structure and rules of the production and distribution of falsified medicines. In fact, it has projected the phenomenon on a worldwide scale and has multiplied the opportunities for crime for both individuals, smaller networks and organised crime syndicates. Nevertheless, Internet has also highlighted the remarkable differences existing between developed and poor countries in assessing, preventing and managing the risks, as well as in protecting both citizens and the global/local legal supply chain.
ALL therapeutic categories are VULNERABLE TO FALSIFICATION.
But, WHAT MAKES A MEDICINE AN “HOT MEDICINE”?
The wording “hot medicine” is not yet of common use at both institutional and academic level. For the sake of the study developed by RiSSC within the FAKECARE Project, hot medicines can be defined as both branded and generic products which have the highest possibility to be counterfeited (intended as falsified and/or altered) and traded in particular over the Internet.
At present, no medicine is immune from the risk of being counterfeited or falsified. Furthermore, no medicine is immune from the risk of being sold, also via Internet, to private citizens, wholesalers, retailers as well as healthcare operators.
RiSSC has been working on the following hypothesis:
- In developed countries, the risk for a medicine to become a hot medicine is directly propor-tional to its economic value and relevance of use. Namely, medicines with higher monetary value and relevant to cure life-threatening and chronicle diseases are more vulnerable to counterfeiting and falsification;
- In developing countries, the risk for a medicine to become a hot medicine is directly propor-tional to the demand’s extent. Namely, medicines which are used to cure diseases which are largely diffused among population are more vulnerable to counterfeiting and falsification
- The risk for a hot medicine to be traded via Internet is higher if the medicine is used mostly by people living in developed countries (due to their regular access to the Net) and if the medicine is a self-medication and/or a medicine with restricted/regulated access.