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Pharmaceutical Counterfeiting: Understanding the Extent of a New Transnational Crime

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2008 Pages: 38-40,42,43
Thomas T. Kubic
Date Published
August 2008
5 pages
Through an analysis conducted by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), this article examines the prevalence and extent of the new transnational crime, pharmaceutical counterfeiting.
Highlights of key findings include: (1) by December 31, 2006, Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) documented 1,371 incidents, the highest total in 5 years; (2) counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals continued as the most common type of crime identified by PSI with 1,184 incidents or 86 percent of the total; (3) the 1,371 incidents in 2006 affected 100 countries, a decrease of one country in 2005; (4) China experienced the largest number of incidents; (5) the 1,371 incidents involved 560 different pharmaceutical products; (6) 3 therapeutic categories had a significant percentage increase on a year-to-year basis: respiratory (127 percent), alimentary medications (94 percent), and cardiovascular drugs (62 percent); (7) 755 persons involved in counterfeiting, diversion, or theft of pharmaceutical drugs worldwide were arrested in 2006; (8) the United States ranked eighth in pharmaceutical crime arrests; and (9) 2006 showed a shift in law enforcement actions from arrests of distributors to arrests of manufacturers. The challenge of pharmaceutical counterfeiting is clearly evident from the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) data. There have been documented increases in the number of incidents worldwide; there are more countries experiencing counterfeiting than ever before; and a wide variety of pharmaceutical products are now counterfeited, illegally diverted, and stolen. Many lifesaving medicines are being counterfeited. In 2002, PSI inaugurated the Counterfeiting Incident System (CIS), an incident-based reporting mechanism. CIS has become a reliable source for counterfeiting information worldwide which is presented in this article. 2 figures, 4 tables, and 10 notes