Counterfeit Medicines: The New Face of Organized Crime
A new study of IRACM analyzes new criminal strategies in connection with counterfeit medicines trafficking
PARIS, October 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –
Organized crime, transnational criminal networks but also ” white-collar ”
opportunists, there are multiple forms of crime taken by counterfeit medicines trafficking
and decrypted for the first time in a report published by the Institute of Research
Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM).
Based on the analysis of case studies and renowned experts interviews, this first
international study provides a detailed typology of criminal activities involved in this
traffic these last years.It also offers a reflection on the new health and geopolitical
issues related to the development of such trafficking and some possible solutions for a
more effective prevention andrepression.
- When ordinary citizens drift into crime The report describes first the case of individuals often isolated and opportunists who have found a simple wayto winmoney with very little risk: import counterfeit medicines from India or China by post and resale online at attractive prices. This democratization of crime is evident in the case of cybercrime where powerful IT tools are easily accessible for any anonymous user. If the French health system is still relatively protected, it remains true that traffic can be organized around illegal importation Asian routes. This is the case of a couple of Chinese nationals living in France who, during two years, led an illegal importation network of counterfeit medicines. 400 references of toxic medicines have been discovered for sale in their shop in Paris.
- Europe: business center for a new form of "white-collar" criminals While Europol estimates in 3600 the number of criminal groups in Europe, the study reviews several examples of transnational structures of medium size (about 10 people) from the international organized crime, opportunistic businessmen but also from " white-collar " criminals who chose Europe as "headquarter" for their traffic. We discover a new aspect of the organized crime with companies often linked to the health sector (importers, wholesalers) that combine legal and illegal business activities with great dexterity. Among these examples we can give the case of Peter Gillespie, the name of a chartered accountant and importer of medicines in England. Gillespie and his accomplices have distributed about 25,000 boxes of counterfeit medicines in the British legal system. The medicines were imported from China via Hong Kong, Singapore and Belgium and packaged in France. It is probably the most important case of counterfeit medicines discovered in Europe.
- The largest criminal network of counterfeit medicines still active The report also reveals the existence of networks on an unprecedented scale with a very complex transnational dimension. For example, the instructive case of a "Jordano-Chinese" network of more than 150 individuals whose illegal activities have occurred in the context of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and still persist today. This network has been transformed according to the opportunities in multiple regional sub-networks (Jordan, Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Syria) and then moved to the western area to become "specialists" in counterfeit anti-cancer drugs. Considered as the largest network in activity, it perfectly illustrates the Middle East strategic situation and the central role of the Chinese organized crime in medicines trafficking. This vast network also reveals the importance of the corruption phenomenon in a hypersensitive geopolitical context.
- Cybercrime becoming a major risk Another type of criminals are specialized in distribution activities and online promotion of globalized affiliation with aggressive techniques and did not hesitate to take advantage of health crises, such as avian influenza H1N1, for example to grow their traffic. Perfect example of a so-called "white collar" crime, this type of network is often played by people in high-level positions with respectable appearance, trying to benefit from legitimate business of non-violent manner where organized crime would employ the physical intimidation. Glavmed - SpamIt case, the largest affiliates network of illicit Internet pharmacies, of Russian origin is particularly detailed in the report. This type of organized cybercrime often leaves the false impression of a "less dangerous crime" with the public opinion and is even more difficult to fight because of the changing and infinite nature of the Internet.
One of the most important network of illicit online pharmacies, dismantled in Russia:
-1.5 million purchase orders and 80, 000 purchasers in 3 years
- 18 billion of spams per day
- Monthly income, nearly 1 million euros.
To know more about the Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) and
the report: http://www.iracm.com
SOURCE The Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines