The American Police Community (AMERIPOL) exchanges information with European police units on counterfeit medicines
The National Police and the American Police Community, AMERIPOL, have coordinated a new online meeting, once again sponsored by the European project EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL, which is managed by FIIAPP, to coordinate the police response to COVID19.
The EL PAcCTO project: Support for AMERIPOL, in its desire to offer relevant support to the region in this situation, has proposed holding videoconferences channelled through the Executive Secretariat and the AMERIPOL National Units (UNAs) to disseminate and promote good practices and lessons learned from the European Union. On this occasion, the fourth videoconference deals with the illicit trade in medicines and health and hygiene materials, the increase in which has led the WHO to issue an international alert.
The videoconference had more than 150 participants from European and Latin American police forces. In addition to having the presence of the European Union and the participation of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and EUROPOL. Its objective has been to enable the detection of the illicit trade in medicines and healthcare materials in the Latin American region, the incidence of which has increased in the context of COVID19.
The event was opened by Mr. Jorge de la Caballería, the head of the European Union’s Latin America and Caribbean Unit, who pointed out that the falsification of medical equipment is a real threat to citizens. It affects us all, but even more so the most vulnerable families, since financially this material, which some now determine to be essential, can cost around €120 per month.
From Spain, the International Cooperation Division (DCI) of the National Police, arranged the participation of the head of the Consumer, Environmental and Doping Crimes Unit at the General Commissariat of the Judicial Police. The chief inspector referred to some of the operations that have been carried out by the National Police and has mentioned that, in Spain, “although the demand for medicines related to COVID19 has increased, no counterfeiting of any of them has been detected”.
To combat this increased movement of illicit drugs, OLAF has launched an official investigation. Marta del Castillo stated that “the most falsified medical products are masks and coronavirus tests and that by far the greatest number come, in this order, from China, Ukraine, Southeast Asia and Turkey”. For this reason, the OLAF representative stated that international cooperation is very important in this type of crime, given the importance of the exchange of information in real time and collaboration with other institutions.
For his part, Esteban Giudici, from the International Alliance against Illicit Trade (TRACIT), highlighted the negative impact that illicit trade in medicines has on achieving Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 1 (No poverty) , 3 (Health and well-being), 5 (Gender equality), 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and 16 (Peace, justice and solid institutions).
To conclude, Mr Adriano Barbosa of the Brazilian Federal Police mentioned the importance of continuing with this type of activity that allows for a very beneficial exchange of information for all in the fight against this global pandemic.