Counterfeiting and illegal commercialization of pharmaceutical products are problems growing worldwide in terms of both quantity and quality, which means their harmful effects are expanding to affect not only brand owners but also patients, health authorities, enforcement officials and multiple other private and public actors.Finding and implementing broad effective measures to tackle the problem from a multidisciplinary standpoint is urgent for all the stakeholders involved.

Dealing with these problems in Latin America historically presented particular challenges but local authorities have been enacting regulations and taking measures to fight against the problem. Ongoing dialogue to exchange experiences and build capabilities is resulting in better outcomes. For example, one fruitful meeting was held in Lima, Peru in May, which was attended by representatives from the private sector as well as authorizes from the judiciary, sanitary and enforcement agencies from Colombia, France and Spain.

Ruben Espinoza, general director of the Peruvian sanitary agency (abbreviated as DIGEMID) said that fighting against counterfeits and illegal commercialization of pharmaceutical products in a coordinated and all-encompassing manner to protect consumers was the main goal of all the authorities attending the event.

In addition, that the current Peruvian Criminal Code contains imprisonment sanctions for these illegal activities ranging from 4 to 15 years and the existence of particular regulations giving DIGEMID the faculty to preserve and administer seized products as well as evidence recollected while observing the highest possible security standards.

The event was organized by the multi-sectorial technical group on the fight against the illegal commercialization of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and sanitary products called CONTRAFALME and composed by different authorities of Colombia and Peru, the Pan American Health Organization (POS) as well as local and regional representatives from the industry.

Similar events are being organized in other Latin American countries recently by different local, regional and international organizations and more are planned to help reach concrete results.


Originally published 22 June 2016

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