INTERPOL seminar highlights regional cooperation key to combating pharmaceutical crime
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Police, customs and regulatory authorities from the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, North America and Asia gathered at an INTERPOL seminar in Sint Maarten this week to identify ways to improve cooperation in the fight against counterfeit medical products.
The INTERPOL Awareness Seminar and Workshop on Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (28 February – 1 March) brought together experts from 19 countries and territories, mainly in the Caribbean and Latin America, to examine ways to boost regional collaboration against the threat of pharmaceutical crime. Discussions focused on ways to engage in coordinated enforcement activities, enhance the capacities of law enforcement and health agencies and raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit medical products.
In her opening address, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams thanked INTERPOL for choosing St Maarten to host the event, and pledged that the country would work closely with the Organization “as we continue to fight crime in all its facets”.
“Saint Maarten offers you all the opportunities to discuss items important to your Organization, items that threaten the countries that are part of your Organization,” added Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.
The seminar made a number of recommendations, including the need for INTERPOL to promote and encourage collaboration and coordinated action among police, customs and national drug regulatory agencies in combating counterfeit medical products.
During the 21st INTERPOL Americas Regional Conference in Aruba in July 2011, INTERPOL member countries adopted a recommendation on combating pharmaceutical crime in the Caribbean region. The recommendation aimed at developing operational, multidisciplinary activities on the model of INTERPOL's Operation Pangea against the illicit online sales of medicines.
This was the first INTERPOL conference hosted by Sint Maarten since it became a member country of the world police organization in November 2011.
Representatives from the following countries and territories attended the seminar: Anguilla, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Singapore, St Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the United States.