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Drug Counterfeiting Epidemic Spurs Urgent Need For Co-Operation

Over 200 government officials, packagers and pharmaceutical industry heads joined in a resounding call for a large-scale collaboration to combat the growing drug counterfeiting problem - a practice which could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths per year. The event, entitled the Global Forum on Pharmaceutical Counterfeiting, took place on the 22nd-25th September in Geneva, and set out to gather views on the drug counterfeiting problem, which is now being considered an epidemic. Fake drugs are a weapon of mass human destruction, said Robert Cockburn, an independent journalist who investigated global drug counterfeiting over the last decade.

After witnessing Beirut in 1982 and other war zones writing for the UK's Guardian newspaper, he said the deadliness of drug counterfeiting is less surprising than the ease with which counterfeiters perform their work. "If [counterfeit drugs] could be seen, not as trade violation, but as vehicles of terror, there would be a war against them tomorrow." But there are no votes in fighting fake drugs, he concluded - this war is much tougher. Criminals don't respect borders or trademarks so organisations need to collaborate across national and commercial competitive boundaries to be effective. And there is strength in numbers, says Ian Lancaster, a Principal of Reconnaissance International.


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By Jonathan Senft, Reconnaissance International

Jonathan Senft is a writer for Reconnaissance International, publisher of Holography News, Authentication News and Currency News. He also works on an anticounterfeiting research project with the US Food and Drug Administration. Mr Senft, who attended university in Illinois and Massachusetts, has written for various trade and legal publications over the last six years.

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