November 26, 2008

Chamber Commends INTERPOL’s Anti-Counterfeiting Efforts

Public-private partnership yields seizure of over 16 million counterfeit pills in Southeast Asia

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today commended INTERPOL on the success of the international law enforcement organization’s five month, 200 raid operation targeting counterfeit medicines in Southeast Asia. Operation Storm, an INTERPOL-led investigation, resulted in the seizure of over 16 million counterfeit pills in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. “Because counterfeiting is an illicit global trade, the business community, INTERPOL and international organizations like the World Health Organization are demonstrating the importance of working together to protect consumers who rely on legitimate and safe products,” said Brad Huther, senior advisor of the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center. “Public-private partnerships are essential to safeguard intellectual property rights around the world, and the Chamber is proud to support successful efforts like this.”
INTERPOL’s seizure totaled $6.5 million worth of counterfeit pharmaceuticals that included medicines used to treat HIV, malaria, pneumonia and tuberculosis. In May, INTERPOL announced the results of Operation Jupiter, a similar public-private effort targeting counterfeit networks in South America that resulted in the seizure of over $121 million of illegal products.

“Strong intellectual property rights serve to promote the development of new innovative medicines for emerging health challenges, while protecting the legitimate supply chain from fake and dangerous pharmaceuticals,” added Huther. “It’s hard to rest easy knowing that this is just the tip of the iceberg, but efforts like these are important steps towards ensuring only genuine life-saving medicines reach the individuals who need them most.”

According to the Center for Medicines in the Public Interest, global counterfeit drug sales will reach an estimated $75 billion globally in 2010. The World Health Organization estimates that over 30 percent of medicines traded in developing countries are counterfeit.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion IP as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.

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