June 01, 2007

India main source of counterfeit medicines seized in Europe

India is the number one source of counterfeit medicines seized in the European Union in 2006, according to EU statistics released in Brussels Thursday.

About 31 percent of all fake medicines seized in the EU last year came from India, UAE (31 percent) and China (8). The three countries are responsible for more than 70 percent of all counterfeit medicines, noted the report.

The seized fake medicines included Viagra, Cialis and Levitra but also other serious medicines such as anti-cholesterol, anti-osteoporosis or medicines to control hypertension and even painkiller Anacin tablets.

Presenting the statistics to the press in Brussels, John Taylor, head of the European Commission's counterfeit unit, said it has become very difficult to identify the country where fake goods are manufactured, as the goods will not be shipped directly to the intended market.

But since India is a significant producer of medicine, the seized counterfeit medicines are thought to be manufactured in India.

The UAE is not a producer of medicines, but the Emirate is used to hide the origin of the fake medicines and shipped from there.

Health and safety is a big issue, as witnessed by the sizeable figures relating to seizures of pharmaceutical products, 2.5 million items compared to 500,000 items in 2005.

"The emergence of India in this sector, reflect the developing industrial capacity of this nation and highlights the reality that counterfeiting is carried out at an industrial scale where a potential profit is perceived,'' noted the EU report.

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