EU fake medicine seizures soar 700 per cent in 201125-Jul-2012
The number of counterfeit medicines seized in the EU soared by more than 700 per cent in 2011, new data shows.
Last year EU customs officials seized more than 27m fake medicinal products in 2,500 cases of anti-counterfeiting enforcement. The dramatic rise compared to 2010, when 3.2m fake medicines were found, meant counterfeit drugs and condoms accounted for one-quarter of EU seizures.
Explosive growth in the number of counterfeit medicines seized in the EU comes after a surprise dip in 2010 interrupted years of steady increases. This dip - and the growth that preceded it - is clearly visible in the interactive visualisation of seven years of EU data shown below.
Using the drop down menu above the chart you can show how seizures of nine product groups tracked by the EU have changed over time. Viewing the ‘All’ category shows that the 27m fake medicines seized in 2011 prevented the EU from recording a third consecutive year of declines.
Despite the huge increase in the number of counterfeit medicines seized the EU estimate of the fake products’ value was relatively unchanged, suggesting the increase was due to inexpensive goods.
The rise of China
The seizure of 24m more counterfeit medicines last year coincided with the emergence of China as the primary source of fake drugs and condoms. China accounted for two-thirds of counterfeit medicines seized by the EU last year compared to less than five per cent in 2010.
Over just one year the shift is huge. In 2010 around 150,000 fake medicines came from China. Last year the figure was close to 19m, representing a year-on-year increase of more than 12,000 per cent. In its report the EU gives little explanation for the phenomenal rise.
The map below gives an indication of how China has traditionally ranked among the counterfeit medicine hotspots. Big circles on the map show the country has frequently ranked in the top three sources of counterfeits seized by the EU.
As the map shows, India has generally been the main source of fake drugs seized by the EU. In fact, before figures for 2011 were released China was ranked between the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland in terms of its placing in the top three historic sources of counterfeit medicines.
The rankings of counterfeit medicine sources in 2011 were more inline with other product groups than in previous years. China is the main source of counterfeits for a wide range of products, from DVDs to cosmetics, as is shown by using the drop down menus above the map.
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