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Falsified medicines: European Parliament and EU governments reach agreement


21 Dec 2010


Health & Consumers

Today, the EU governments gave the green light to reach a first reading agreement with the EP on the directive on falsified medicines. Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL) is the rapporteur of the European Parliament for this file.

The agreement between the Parliament and the governments covers the sales of medicines over the Internet, an significative step as the governments and the European Commission initially wanted to exclude it from the directive. "This is one of the main measures to combat falsified medicines in Europe, since the Internet it's the main open window of entry of falsified medicines in the European space", notes Marisa Matias, "the main objective of the Directive is to protect individual patients and public health".

This legislation will have impact in Europe and also in other regions of the world as the control of medicines will be carried out not only when entering in the EU but also when exiting, contributing to the fight against the export of counterfeit medicines to poorer countries. Among the new legislation now agreed it was included further sanctions on counterfeiters and the creation of a control system since the manufacturer to the patient.

Marisa Matias declares herself satisfied with the agreement reached after a "long and complex negotiating process". The GUE/NGL MEP considers the entry into force of this legislation is urgent, as it was shown by the broader agreement reached not only within the Parliament but also with the governments. "The absence of legal framework encourages not only counterfeiting but also counterfeiters, who are organized in highly profitable criminal networks". Indeed, there is a growth of almost 400 percent in seizures of counterfeit drugs since 2005. "It is people health that is in stake", summarizes the MEP.

This Directive aims to prevent the entry of counterfeit drugs in the legal distribution chain. With this agreement, the directive will be voted by the European Parliament in its plenary session in Strasbourg in February. If approved, the directive will be transposed into the legislation of the 27 Member States having an impact in the lives of 500 million Europeans.

Currently, it is estimated that at least 1% to 3% of medicines sold in pharmacies of the European Union are fake, endangering public health.

Gianfranco Battistini +32 475 64 66 28
Gay Kavanagh + 32 473 842 320
David Lundy + 32 485 505812