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Глобальная торговля фальшивыми медикаментами в УкраинеThe last time we hear about counterfeit medicines. Not only do they provoke enormous economic damage pharmaceutical companies, but also provide a great threat to society.

Counterfeit medicines often contain incorrect level of the active ingredient - too little, too much, or not contain. There were cases when these drugs were found highly toxic substances such as rat poison. In all of these scenarios, the person taking counterfeit drugs, putting their health and lives at risk.

From the point of view of public health, the most terrible fakes are drugs against tuberculosis, cancer, and HIV, where inactive or low-quality ingredients can lead to complications and to the rapid emergence of drug dependence. So, recently, counterfeit versions of widely used medicines for cancer, Avastin", were distributed throughout the United States. This falsification is not contained active pharmaceutical ingredients, many patients have missed an important period of chemotherapy.

A few years ago the well-known were counterfeit antimalarial drugs. According to the world health organization (who), in 2010, malaria killed about 781000 people, and the total number of cases amounted to 216 million people, 81% of whom were natives of the African region. There are 91% of deaths from the disease in the first place affected the children under five years of age (86% of the victims) and pregnant women.

Today, governments are making some efforts to eliminate market of counterfeit drugs, but problems continue, and perhaps even increase their scale. On our television screens, in Newspapers and other media regularly receive news about fakes of this kind. So, in August of this year was found a large quantity of counterfeit medicines from diabetes, worth 182000 dollars, and in China were arrested 2000 people for the trade and distribution "false" medicines for high blood pressure and cancer.

Customs officers around the world are finding more and more illegal drugs. In addition, counterfeit drugs are increasingly being sold over the Internet, making their delivery is not controlled. For medical and pharmaceutical industry counterfeit drugs are a loss in the form of lost profits in the billions of dollars per year. The growing threat requires the adoption of urgent measures against counterfeit medicines. Steps should be taken by national and international bodies, and each victim pharmaceutical company.

The scale of the problem

According to the Center for medicine in the public interest, in developing countries, about 30% of the sales of the branded drugs are fake.

As a rule, fake medicines for the treatment of chronic diseases are more common in richer countries, while antibacterial counterfeiting in poor tropical countries.

Today, India is considered to be the main source of counterfeit medicines, followed by Syria, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine. So, forgery in India are about 20% of the total volume of the pharmaceutical market, and mainly include popular brands of drugs from cough and cold, vitamins.

In some parts of Africa and Asia, over 50% of existing drugs are counterfeit. According to experts, global-criminal sales account for more than 35 billion dollars annually.

In contrast, according to the who, only 1% of the medicines sold in developed (for example, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, United States of America and the European Union) countries are fake.
Unlike the smuggling of drugs, medical counterfeiting is still not considered a criminal offence in accordance with the legal systems of some countries of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. Our country still lags behind in health, life expectancy is 68 years, which, in accordance with EU and world Bank figures, 10 years less than the average in the neighbouring countries of the European Union.

In fact, data on the size of this problem, not a lot. Pharmaceutical companies and governments do not want to make public health issues of employees and the General public, so as to fear that the publicity could damage the sales of branded products in conditions of a rigid competition.

More and more people are buying medicines and medical products via the Internet, including online pharmacy and auction sites. Unfortunately, many of these websites are unauthorized, unregulated and are engaged in illegal trade in hazardous to human health products. The world health organization estimates that more than fifty percent of the medicine bought with the help of Internet sites that conceal their physical address are counterfeit.

On the way to eradicating

Today, the variety of the latest technology offers many useful solutions to combat pharmaceutical crime. These technologies include stickers, hologram, and RFID, and a system of 2-D bar codes, etc.

Complete eradication of this problem is still far behind the horizon, but encouraged by the fact that little progress is already visible. Governments and law enforcement agencies show interest in cooperation and collaboration with who.
At the moment can't be one solution for all countries, because the level of the economy and the situation with smuggling drugs are different everywhere. But some General rules still exist. First, countries should strive to ensure that all drugs in their territories have been licensed, and the renewal of licenses was regular and immediate. Secondly, with regard to imported drugs, as the experience of Australia, it is better to check their quality in the ports administration.

Officials in the medical and pharmaceutical industries must be especially well trained in all aspects of trade, and also to be able to test and evaluate the quality of the products themselves. Their assistance is required in the current situation.

The authorities must be in constant contact with the pharmaceutical industry, with international organizations, for example such as the who, and to cooperate with regulatory authorities such as the European Agency for the evaluation of medicinal products.

Pharmaceutical crime continues to raise its rating on the agenda. Yes, at the international, regional and national levels, some efforts have already been made to resolve this problem. If the situation will soon become a little better, the industry will have a wide range of opportunities for promotion, regulation and enforcement regimes that will minimize pharmaceutical crime.

Fake it's more than a crime is premeditated murder. But, unfortunately, currently counterfeit medicines are a truly global phenomenon, and many countries are suffering as their source or transit.

Palamarchuk Irina
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