Building operative partnerships with law enforcement


Vaughn Volpi

There is a perfect storm brewing in the healthcare industry. Over the past few years, there has been an unprecedented rise in the trade of illicit healthcare products in the secondary market.

In its latest study, the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) documented a 60 percent increase in arrests for persons involved in counterfeiting, diversion or theft of pharmaceutical drugs worldwide between 2008 and 2009. The PSI further reported that the sale of counterfeit drugs tripled between 2004 and 2009, resulting in worldwide annual sales of up to $200 billion.

Unfortunately, this meteoric rise, perhaps not so coincidentally, has taken place while the world is mired in the worst global recession in decades. In many places, unemployment is at an all-time high, forcing at least some to turn to illicit industries for work.

As money gets tight, people also look for lower-priced alternatives. Today, this often means turning to the Internet, which enables otherwise small criminal organisations to become worldwide players in the trafficking of illicit healthcare products in relative anonymity. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 50 percent of the drugs sold on the Internet from unauthorised sites are fake.

healthcare, cargo theft, pharmaceuticals, PSI, IPR Center, PICA