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CROSS-BORDER COUNTERFEITING


In its latest study, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) documented a 60 percent increase in arrests for persons involved in counterfeiting, diversion or theſt of pharmaceutical drugs worldwide between 2008 and 2009. Te PSI further reported that the sale of counterfeit drugs tripled between 2004 and 2009, resulting in worldwide annual sales of up to $200 billion.


Unfortunately, this meteoric rise, perhaps not so coincidentally, has taken place while the world is mired in the worst global recession in decades. In many places, unemployment is at an all-time high, forcing at least some to turn to illicit industries for work. As money gets tight, people also look for lower-priced alternatives. Today, this oſten means turning to the Internet, which enables otherwise small criminal organisations to become worldwide players in the trafficking of illicit healthcare products in relative anonymity. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 50 percent of the drugs sold on the Internet from unauthorised sites are fake.


To make matters even worse, most law enforcement and corporate security departments have seen significant reductions in their personnel and/or operating budgets during this same period. Tis has forced them to narrow their focus. For law enforcement, this typically means focusing on violent crimes, and for corporations, it means protecting the company’s assets and personnel. While most healthcare companies list


their brands among the most www.worldipreview.com


valuable assets on their balance sheet and law enforcement agencies are genuinely concerned with public health and safety, sadly neither have the scope nor expertise to combat this increasingly sophisticated and global crime on their own.


For example, ports in Chile and Peru have increasingly become destinations for illicit products made in Asia. While interdictions and arrests in Chile and Peru have been on the rise, unfortunately there is rarely any follow-up action taken against the individuals in Asia who are manufacturing or distributing the product. Te case ends and the criminal enterprise remains in place to ship products the next day. Obviously, law enforcement lacks the resources, connectivity and jurisdiction to dismantle these syndicates all on its own.


Even in these budget-challenged times, there is a way to successfully counter illicit product sales, secure the healthcare supply chain for patients and protect a company’s brand. Te answer lies in building and investing in close operational partnerships with law enforcement. Unlike other industry support groups, these operational partnerships are designed to build a practical working relationship between industry and law enforcement to target healthcare and IPR crimes. While there are a number of quality groups that fit this description around the world, there are two that every multinational corporation with brand security issues should join.


Cargo theft


One of the fastest-growing crimes affecting healthcare products is cargo theſt. In the US alone, the FBI estimates that cargo theſt accounts for up to $30 billion in losses each year. While the crime itself is relatively straightforward, it can have a wide-ranging impact for law enforcement, companies and consumers alike.


Te Southeast Transportation Security Council (SETSC) is successfully tackling this issue on a daily basis. SETSC was founded in 2002 by five corporations and approximately 12 law enforcement officers operating in the Atlanta area. From those modest beginnings, it has rapidly grown to include more than 40 corporations and more than 200 law enforcement agencies throughout the Southeastern United States. Te organisation currently monitors and deals with cargo theſts valued at over $1 billion annually.


Te framework of the programme is quite simple. Within 30 minutes of a cargo theſt incident, SETSC’s ‘Blast-Fax System’ passes all the relevant information to hundreds of police agencies, four law enforcement cargo theſt task forces, seven regional councils, plus its corporate membership. Te information is disseminated on a controlled- access basis, which means the law enforcement membership can have access to the full details of the theſt, while information can be redacted in the version distributed to corporate partners. All members and law enforcement agencies then work together to recover the cargo.


Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review 2011 27


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