Strasbourg, 14 October 2013 – Seventy participants from 32 countries from all continents, member states and observer states of the Council of Europe and observer states of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission will meet on 16 and 17 October in Strasbourg to discuss cooperation in the legal and public health fields so that the MEDICRIME Convention can rapidly be ratified by as many countries as possible worldwide.
In June 2013, about 100 countries participated in a worldwide operation (PANGEA VI) aimed at dismantling criminal networks responsible for the illegal online sales of medicines. This operation led to the arrests of 58 persons all over the world. In addition, 10.1 million potentially dangerous, illegal, counterfeit tablets were seized and more than 13 700 Internet sites were closed.
To fight this phenomenon, promote effective international cooperation and protect patients, the Council of Europe has provided a solution: an international Convention known as “MEDICRIME”. This is the first and the only currently available legal instrument that can be used by the international community. Its main advantage is to introduce penal sanctions not only for intentional acts such as “supplying or offering to supply counterfeit medical products” but also for “similar” crimes such as the sale of a product that has not been authorised by the authorities and which is claimed to be effective against a disease.
This conference supplements other initiatives and support provided by the Council of Europe to its member states, a number of which have already started to take the first steps towards ratification. To date the Convention has been signed by 23 countries. Spain has recently ratified the Convention, thus joining Ukraine. Other countries are expected to ratify the Convention very soon. (more...)