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09 June 2011 - Media release

Collaboration between INTERPOL and Singapore’s health authority heralds milestone in fight against counterfeit medical products

SINGAPORE – In the first such collaboration between the world’s largest international police organization and a national health authority, INTERPOL and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) of Singapore have signed a cooperation agreement on investigation and testing training for law enforcement officers battling counterfeit medical products and pharmaceutical crime.

Recognizing that close collaboration between law enforcement authorities, drug regulators and healthcare professionals is key to efforts to protect public health, the agreement will see INTERPOL and HSA closely collaborate on new programmes, priorities and activities to facilitate enhanced and cutting-edge training activities on the prevention and suppression of fake and illicit medical products.

With the globalization of criminal activities, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said Wednesday’s historic signing with Singapore’s HSA underlined the need in a globalized world for enforcement agencies and regulatory authorities to work with their counterparts worldwide to effectively address transnational pharmaceutical crime.

"The training agreement reflects HSA's and INTERPOL's joint recognition that the fight against medical product counterfeiting and pharmaceutical crime is a matter that requires public health and law enforcement sectors to develop integrated approaches," said Secretary General Noble.

The Chief Executive Officer of Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority, Dr John Lim, said: “HSA is pleased to formalize our cooperation with INTERPOL and play a part in the global efforts against counterfeit medical products.  Tapping on our unique blend of regulatory and forensic expertise, we hope to be able to contribute by sharing our expertise and experience, and facilitate the effective information sharing and coordination of regulatory enforcement actions among partner agencies.”

With the establishment in 2014 of the INTERPOL Global Complex (IGC) in Singapore opening the way towards a reinforced presence of INTERPOL in the region, officials at the signing ceremony further heard Secretary General outline how the IGC would play ‘a decisive role in fostering effective 21st century international police cooperation’ and in satisfying the demand of INTERPOL’s 188 member countries for training activities.

"The INTERPOL Global Complex in Singapore will provide a key international platform for joint HSA and INTERPOL capacity building and training against counterfeit medical products and pharmaceutical crime,” added Mr Noble.

INTERPOL coordinated Operation Pangea III in October 2010, which saw more than 40 countries, including Singapore, and international partners join an international week of action targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines, with 300 websites shut down, and more than 2.3 million pills worth USD 7 million seized.

The CEO of HSA, Dr John Lim (pictured right), and INTERPOL Secretary General Noble after signing the agreement which will see both agencies collaborate on law enforcement training and capacity-building against counterfeit medical products and pharmaceutical crime.