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WCO Signs Declaration, Vows To Crack Down On Counterfeit Drug Industry

World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya on Thursday signed a declaration vowing his group’s commitment to crack down on the counterfeit drug industry, PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” blog reports. The piece examines the growing threat of counterfeit medications worldwide and efforts to clamp down on the distribution of such drugs (Miller, 6/24).

Former French President Jacques Chirac, “applauded the efforts of the WCO’s 176 Member Customs administrations to combat the illegal and often lethal trade in counterfeit medicines,” according to a WCO press release. The release notes that, “Chirac, in his capacity as the President of the Chirac Foundation, has taken up the fake medicine cause to protect consumers and their health and safety, particularly in Africa, by ensuring they have access to safe medicines through a global initiative aimed at fighting this dishonest fake trade” (6/24).

“Countries across the globe, in particular those in Africa, suffer the scourge of being flooded with fake and sub-standard medicine,” Mikuriya said during an address to the WCO’s 176 member countries, during which he signed the Chirac Foundation’s Cotonou Declaration, according to the news service.

“Malaria tablets, heart treatment medication and H1N1 vaccines are among the drugs being sold in counterfeit form, making up 10 percent of worldwide pharmaceutical sales, according to … Chirac,” the news service reports. The article includes comments by Ilisa Bernstein, deputy director of the office of compliance at the FDA, and Roger Bate, an economist who writes about the issue at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (6/24).