January 2013 marked a turning point in the health industry: pharmacies were authorised to sell over the counter (OTC) medicines from a website and offer prescription medicines to order. One year after this legislation came into force, 13% of French people had already bought medicines on internet.

(SOURCE: 2014 - IFOP)

 
 
While one out of every three French people would like legislation to go further and authorise the sale of prescription medicines on internet, they may not know that 62% of medicines bought on Internet worldwide are believed to be counterfeit. Buying medicines on Internet is a great advantage for the general public: medicines are just a click away, with confidentiality and the opportunity to compare prices… But to buy from the right place, purchasers should observe just a few basic principles.

Since its creation in 2010, the International Institute for Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) has worked to fight against counterfeit medicines. Our action focuses on informing and helping a variety of audiences: politicians, security forces, healthcare professionals and the general public. Following an initial campaign launched in July 2015 "Le faux médicament, késako* ?" in French. IRACM is once again speaking up to inform and educate the general public, with a fun, off-beat video on the fake medicine trade on Internet.

(SOURCE: STUDY BY THE EUROPEAN ALLIANCE FOR ACCESS TO SAFE MEDICINES)

* What in the world is a fake medicine?
 
   
  While it is known that counterfeit medicines endanger public health, the French are not yet really aware of the trade. At IRACM we want to educate as many people as possible. We have therefore chosen to treat the subject with a touch of humour, using a viral video, rather than being gloom-mongers.  
 
This Internet film takes people into the daily life of an ordinary family, whose members buy lifestyle medicines on Internet to improve their looks or their physical prowess. We can all recognise ourselves in one of these characters.

Like 80% of French people who seek information about health on internet, IRACM too is using this medium to show the video on various general public websites, particularly those dedicated to health, and the social networks. Our aim is to let the viral nature of Internet do its work, so that the video is shared as widely as possible.

The video “The Allfakes” is the second part of the communication campaign – the first of its kind – begun in July 2015 by IRACM, "Le faux médicament, késako* ?" in French. The first action aimed to inform and educate the general public about the risks posed by counterfeit or fake medicines, with an information booklet containing many helpful tips, a bespoke website, a poster and a quiz. This second part focuses on the risks incurred on Internet, which spreads this international scourge. To find all the information about this web campaign.

(SOURCE: 2014 - IFOP)

 
 

Since January 2013, OTC (over the counter) medicines have been available for sale on Internet. It is also possible to order prescription medicines provided you pick them up in the actual pharmacy, with the prescription in hand.

In France today there are 307 authorised online pharmacies. They account for less than 2% of French pharmacies, but they have already convinced 13% of French people who buy medicines on internet.

(SOURCES : 2014 - IFOP and CNOP)

 
   
 
consult the official list of French pharmacies authorised to sell on Internet
look for obvious signs: spelling mistakes, information in a foreign language, odd-looking characters;
see if prescription medicines are available over the counter: that is forbidden in France;
 
if the prices are abnormally low, with no indication of a sales promotion, the site may well be illegal;
do not trust a “.fr” address: some sites selling medicines on Internet usurp French-sounding domain names to trick Internet users;
buy in stores associated with legitimate supply chains.
 
   
 
people in Europe have already
bought medicines outside
the authorised circuits

(SOURCE: CRACKING
COUNTERFEIT EUROPE)

of seizures made in Europe
in 2012 in the post were
of medicines

(SOURCE: EUROPEAN COMMISSION)

1 out of 10 medicines sold
in the world is probably fake

(SOURCE: 2005 - FDA)

sector of illegal trade in the world: 10 to 20 times more profitable than drug trafficking

(SOURCE: 2001 – WORLD
ECONOMIC FORUM)

 
 
In late 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the 47 States in the Council of Europe adopted a draft open Convention: the Medicrime Convention.

This is the only international tool that criminalises the counterfeiting and also the manufacturing and distribution of medical products. It provides a framework for international cooperation and measures intended to improve the coordination of actions at the national level.

Today, 25 States have already signed, including France. Each State then has to adapt its national laws. While this multilateral treaty enters into force in 5 countries in January 2016, a bill is currently under examination in France and will be on the agenda in the French Senate on 17 December 2015.

Internet, the marketplace without borders, is currently an opportunity for foreign counterfeiters. In the fight against cybercrime, collaboration between countries, as stipulated in the Medicrime Convention, can only improve the fight against this threat to public health!
 
   
 


For more information:
www.iracm.com

Mirella Perrone
Tel : +33 (0)1 69 74 58 11
Mob : +33 (0)6 84 75 98 55
Email : mirella.perrone@iracm.com

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