Rome, April 22 – The COVID-19 emergency highlights the need to combat the trade in defective or counterfeit
pharmaceuticals, according to a warning by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office.
Recent seizures of fake medical supplies being marketed as protection against Covid-19 “underscore the need to address a growing international trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals that is costing billions of euros a year and putting lives at risk” read a joint statement by the two bodies.
In a joint report entitled Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products, the two bodies demonstrate that “the
trafficking and sale of fake or defective medicines is enriching criminal groups and endangering health”.
“The discovery of fake medical supplies related to Covid-19 just as the world pulls together to fight this pandemic makes this global challenge all the more acute and urgent,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría.
“We hope the evidence we have gathered on the value, scope and trends of this illicit trade will help lead to rapid
solutions to combat this scourge”.
The fact that “an active illegal pharmaceuticals market is exploiting the health emergency to profit from health and
people’s fears” was also highlighted by a report published on the portal of Italy’s Higher Health Institute a few days ago.
This is based on monitoring of social media and the Internet, as well as advertisements for pharmaceuticals sold illegally as preventative medicine or cures for the illness caused by Sars-Cov-2.
The authors say the risk is that people take fake medicines “that can contain toxic substances that worsen their clinical condition”.
In the meantime, figures from Johns Hopkins University show that there have been over 2,500,000 coronavirus cases worldwide and 170,000 deaths.
The number of deaths in the USA has passed 43,000 (43,200 to be precise) while the number of positive cases is over 800,000.