According to a new report in the Times of India, over half a million packets of fake medicines, most of them from India, were seized by European customs officials during 2005.
The fake medicines include Viagra, antibiotics, medicines to treat cancer
and high cholesterol and condoms. A sample that was investigated revealed
that what was being passed off as a cardiovascular drug contained a mixture
of brick dust.
"A secret wave of dangerous fakes is threatening the people in Europe," said
Laszlo Kovacs, the EU Taxation Commissioner.
The latest European customs statistics released Saturday said that in 148
operations last year, customs officers intercepted 560,598 packets of fake
medicines. The seizures were double the 2004 rate, but there are fears that
even more counterfeit products may have entered the EU undetected.
Three quarters of the cases involved fake medicines imported from India,
with seven percent from Egypt and six percent from China. Other sources
included Thailand, Argentina, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
The statistics revealed that customs officers across Europe uncovered 26,700
consignments of counterfeit and pirated goods, seizing more than 75 million
"The key is to be faster than the counterfeiters," Kovacs said. "We must
quickly identify, and act to deal with, new routes of fraud and constantly
changing counterfeit patterns to protect our health, safety and the
Coincidence or Crisis?
(Hint -- There is no such thing as a coincidence.)