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  Security
Council of Europe to beef up fight against counterfeit drugs
29/12/2015 | LOC15:48
12:48 GMT
| World News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
PARIS, Dec 29 (KUNA) -- The Council of Europe, which monitors democracy and human rights in 47 member-countries, said on Tuesday that it will adopt a new "Medicrime Convention" this coming year to combat counterfeit medical products being sold worldwide.
The new Convention will come into force on January 1, 2016, and will be legally binding and will make it a criminal offence to counterfeit, manufacture, supply or market medical products without authorisation or without complying with safety standards, a statement from the Strasbourg-based Council said.
The new international and binding Convention "provides for not only criminal-law penalties, but also prevention and victim-protection measures." Adherence to the Convention is not confined to Council of Europe members but is "open to all countries of the world" and it hopes to provide a framework for international cooperation and measures to improve national coordination.
This cooperation is to take the form of "contact points" between national judicial systems, health authorities and approved medical laboratories. In addition, it is hoped there will be enhanced cooperation between law enforcement and customs authorities to set up "rapid exchange of information" on illicit trafficking of medical supplies and pharmaceutical products.
Five States have ratified the Convention ahead of the January 1 adoption by the Council. These include both members and non-members and comprise Spain, Guinea, Hungary, Moldova and Ukraine and 21 other nations have signed but not yet ratified the Convention.
The Council said that sales of counterfeit medicines amounted to USD 75 billion in 2010, representing a 90 percent increase since 2005, according to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In 2012, there was counterfeiting in 523 types of medical products: antibiotics, contraceptives, anti-tetanus serums, anti-malarial drugs, cancer treatments, insulin, anabolics, breast implants, and fertility treatments etc. "This is a rapidly expanding problem, affecting all countries without exception," the statement remarked.
In 2015, Interpol, working with 115 countries, closed 2,414 illegal e-Commerce sites, and seized 20.7 million potentially dangerous drugs and made 156 arrests of counterfeit drug smugglers or manufacturers, the Council statement indicated. (end) jk.nfm
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