On 7th June, I had the pleasure of attending an interesting event in Paris: The World Anti-Counterfeiting Day
It was a perfect sunny day outside in the courtyard of the Unifab (Union des Fabricants) for an event to inform the audience about important issues around counterfeiting and celebrate World Anti-Counterfeiting Day. The event kicked off with the President of Unifab, Christian Peugeot, who called for not only online platforms to take their responsibility in counterfeiting acts, but also for banks to do the same. Senator Richard Yung also spoke about his continuing efforts to help companies with speeding the legal time to have justice intervene when enforcement issues arise with counterfeiters. He also spoke about new initiatives he is undertaking such as working on a centralized depository for all Cyber complaints regarding counterfeiting, as well as building a “Black List” of counterfeiters.
Clotilde Piednoel of Servier, and Hélène Bernard Boyle of Ipsen, informed the public of legal initiatives around medication points of sale, (pharmacies vs online) and informed the public of some 30,000 illegal websites involved in counterfeiting just within Europe. Bernard LeRoy, Director of IRACM, iterated that some 75% of the sites are in fact illegal and 50% of the medications sold online are fake and potentially dangerous. He also highlighted the serialization project where each medication package will receive a unique number from Datamatrix, which will be effective starting in February 2019. This initiative is going global and is expected to both reduce public risk as well as reduce counterfeit medications sold.
In a related manner, Geoffroy Bessaud, from Sanofi, told us about new ways of testing medications for validating if medications are fake or not. It was all both incredibly informative and scary, particularly as a consumer, as we are not very aware of such dangers. Medications can save lives but counterfeits can also take lives. In fact, one of the speakers even stated, “Buying a fake handbag online has never killed anyone, but buying fake medication can”. That is not to say that buying a fake handbag is a good thing to do either, it just highlights the higher level of danger of online sales of medications.
Following the discussions on counterfeiting of medications, the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Award Winners were announced where seven awards were given out. The Company Award went to Royal Philips, and the Technology Award went to PSA (see image below).
Thank you to my friends at Pierre Fabre for the invitation to attend this event as well as the other partners of this event - Servier, IPSEN, Sanofi, IRACM, Leem and GACG. I look forward to attending again next year!