The Council of Europe (CoE) has drawn up its the first international convention against counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The Medicrime treaty is hoping to curb the lucrative global trade in fake medicines by encouraging co-operation among law enforcement agencies, customs, health professionals and the judiciary. The treaty offers "a comprehensive approach to tackling a crime that threatens public health and public healthcare systems," said a CoE spokesman.
CoE has long been concerned about the absence of harmonized international legislation, non-deterrent sanctions and the involvement of cross-border criminal organizations. Another significant worry is the growing incidence of counterfeit medicines in supply chains. While developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the mass entry of counterfeits, CoE believes that fake anticoagulation drugs have already entered the UK, and counterfeit antibiotics, cancer treatments, antipsychotic drugs and cholesterol-lowering treatments may also be present in Europe.
The treaty will introduce tougher sanctions and help to ensure more effective pursuit of counterfeit manufacturers across international borders. It will be opened for signatures and ratification at the Conference of Ministers of Justice, to be held in Istanbul on 25 and 26 November.