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16 October 2013

Enhancing collaboration focus of INTERPOL training on pharmaceutical crime

GHAZIABAD, India – Encouraging greater international cooperation in the fight against pharmaceutical crime was the focus of INTERPOL’s first training course on this type of crime held in India.

The three-day event (8-10 October), organized by INTERPOL’s Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime (MPCPC) Sub-directorate and the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), brought together some 35 participants from police and drug control agencies across India to increase collaboration and enhance the abilities of the region to more effectively combat all forms of pharmaceutical crime including fake and illicit medicines. 

Topics covered during the training session included the challenges of fake or counterfeit medicines; detecting, identifying and tracing fake medicines; existing legal frameworks; intelligence gathering and undercover investigations; proper evidence handling; and partnerships with the public and private sectors.

In his closing remarks, R.K. Dutta, Additional Director of the CBI, highlighted the need for enhanced cooperation not only among agencies within the country but also regionally and globally. Mr Dutta said the Indian authorities recognize that pharmaceutical crime is a concern for law enforcement as well as drug regulatory agencies, and he pledged the country’s support for INTERPOL programmes and operations targeting fake and counterfeit medicines such as Pangea and Storm.

The largest of these initiatives is INTERPOL’s annual Operation Pangea, which targets the online sale of illicit and counterfeit medicines. In 2013, some 100 countries took part in Operation Pangea VI, which resulted in 213 arrests and the seizure of 10.1 million potentially dangerous medicines worth more than USD 36 million.

During the training session, presentations were given by experts from INTERPOL, the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) and drug control agencies throughout India, who used case studies and practical exercises to underline the importance of international cooperation in combating the criminal networks behind pharmaceutical crime.

Attending the opening of the training were Ranjit Sinha, Director of the CBI and Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in New Delhi, and Dr G.N. Singh, Drugs Controller General of India.