Interpol To Help Stop Trade Of Counterfeit Antiretroviral, TB, Malaria Drugs

Armen Hareyan's picture

The international police agency Interpollater this year plans to join the fight to stop the growing trade ofcounterfeit antiretroviral, tuberculosis and malaria drugs in Africa,John Newton, manager of Interpol's intellectual property rightsproject, said Tuesday at the agency's 76th General Assembly inMarrakech, Morocco, AFP/Yahoo! Health reports.


Representativesfrom Congo, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan asked the 186-member police bodyat the assembly for assistance in preventing smuggling networks frommaking counterfeit drugs available in their markets and pharmacies,Newton said. Interpol plans to train police in African countries on howto eliminate counterfeit drug smuggling networks, coordinate policeoperations and track the trade of fake medicines from other parts ofthe world to the continent. Interpol also will collaborate with the World Health Organization and pharmaceutical companies to address the problem, Newton said.

"Weare concerned about counterfeit medicines for life-threatening diseasessuch as malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS and increasingly getting involved inthis area," Newton said. He added that the agency hopes to build on itssuccesses in Latin America and Southeast Asia. "We have learned a lotof lessons in those regions and we are now able to apply those toAfrica," he said, adding, "We can bridge the gap between lawenforcement and the public health sector; we are able to bring the twoareas together."

WHO estimates that up to 30% of the medicinesold in Africa is counterfeit. Interpol in 2005 conducted its firstinvestigation of the counterfeit drug trade in seven Southeast Asiancountries. The Center for Medicines in the Public Interest estimates that global counterfeit drug sales will rise to $75 billion by 2010, a 90% increase from 2005 (AFP/Yahoo! Health, 11/6).

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