International initiatives against counterfeit medicine

counterfeit medicines

Although there is nothing new about the counterfeiting of medical products, the level of trafficking has increased significantly over the last decade to reach a worrying threshold: between 2005 and 2010, drug counterfeiting has multiplied by a factor of almost 10. It has become a major public health concern with more than hundreds of thousands of death each year.

In order to fight this threat, key health sector stakeholders have started to identify distribution networks, while seizing counterfeit products and raising public awareness.

Anti-Counterfeit Medicine Day, organized by Sanofi on June 6, is the opportunity to give an update on the most important commitment worldwide to fight this threat.



International community commitment


Although developing countries remain a priority target, “counterfeit medicines are a universal phenomenon,” ensures Geoffroy Bessaud, Associate Vice President of the Anti-Counterfeit Coordination for Sanofi. It also affects developed countries, where the intensity of trafficking has accelerated in recent years, a consequence of online sales. That’s why a cross-border answer and international cooperation are crucial.  

In parallel with the annual operation Pangea coordinated by INTERPOL since 2008, the Council of Europe drafted the MEDICRIME Convention in December 2010. Ratified by 7 states, it is “the first international legal instrument that will criminalize all activities related to counterfeiting” emphasizes G. Bessaud.



Sanofi’s commitment


Alongside its progress to protect its products  through three levels of protection for medicine pack, Sanofi is also committed to analyze suspect fake products at its Central Anti-Counterfeiting Laboratory (LCAC) located in Tours. Created in 2008, “the LCAC has become a key tool in the war on counterfeit medicines” assures G. Bessaud.

Moreover, the company continually raises public awareness on the danger of counterfeit medicine thanks to surveys and prevention campaigns. Thus, Sanofi has conducted a survey among 10,000 people in Europe, the USA and Asia to discover the perceptions of different citizens on the issue of counterfeit medicines. Then Sanofi introduced a dedicated website,, as well as a Travel Tips app designed to help travelers respond accordingly to this kind of situation.




The fight against counterfeit medicine must mobilize public and private stakeholders made to put an end to this issue. However, international coordinated actions combined to proper initiatives from countries and health stakeholders have begun to produce results and opened the way for a more efficient fight against counterfeit drugs.


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