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02 October 2008

INTERPOL counterfeit medical products training supports cross-agency efforts to combat organized crime in Africa

INTERPOL, supported by the World Health Organization International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT) has initiated a series of training sessions in Uganda and Tanzania to support cross-agency efforts to combat transnational organized criminals who systematically manufacture and distribute counterfeit medical products throughout Africa.

The first session, held in Kampala, Uganda from 18-19 September, opened by Mr Moses Sakira, Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau Kampala, was attended by 40 representatives from police, the national drug authorities and customs who received advice and training to assist them in investigating counterfeit medical product cases more effectively.  Training was provided by facilitators and specialists from INTERPOL, the national police and drug authorities, and representatives from affected pharmaceutical companies.  Each participant was also provided with a training manual specifically designed by the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC).

The second training session held in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania from 22-23 September was opened by Mr Robert Manumba, Head of Criminal Investigation of Tanzania Police and Ms Charrys Ugullum, Acting Head of Tanzania Food and Drug Authority.  It was attended by 50 students from police, National Food and Drug Authorities, Presidency Office, Fair Competition Commission, the Bureau of Standards, and the Office of Attorney General.

The training sessions mark the beginning of an INTERPOL-led enforcement operation under the umbrella of the World Heath Organization IMPACT Programme.  INTERPOL does this by acting as a catalyst for collective action against the counterfeiters and then coordinating law enforcement interventions into their activities. 

Uganda and Tanzania are at the forefront of these efforts in East Africa and attendance at the training sessions is indicative of the collective desire of all participating agencies to work together and co-operate to make a difference in the region.

The INTERPOL-led OASIS Intellectual Property Crime Training and Operational Workshops will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 20-25 November 2008, bringing together representatives from 26 African countries.