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27 May 2015

INTERPOL initiatives look to boost fight against pharmaceutical crime in Mauritania

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Enhancing the capacity of Mauritanian police, customs and health regulatory officials to fight counterfeit and illicit medicines was the focus of a training course held under the umbrella of INTERPOL’s Medical Products Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) programme.

Involving some 40 participants, the training session was opened by Mauritania’s Minister of Justice, Sidi Ould Zeine, who was joined by senior officials from the country’s Health Ministry, Interior Ministry, Customs and police in highlighting the need for cross-sector cooperation to stem pharmaceutical crime and dismantle crime networks.

To this end, the training was followed by an operation to tackle the sale and stockpile of illicit medical products in Nouakchott’s central market.

Operation Seha was undertaken by Mauritanian authorities with the support of officers from INTERPOL’s Regional Bureau in Abidjan and its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.

Some 550 kg of illicit medical products were seized during the operation, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamins and antalgics.

Aline Plançon, Head of INTERPOL’s Medical Counterfeit and Pharmaceutical Crime unit, underlined the importance of both initiatives in developing ‘cooperation and information exchange’ between enforcement agencies and all stakeholders involved in the fight against pharmaceutical crime, and in raising public awareness on the dangers of counterfeit and illicit pharmaceutical products.