Garda College Examines Counterfeit Medicines

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16 December 2011

The first CEPOL Course on ‘Counterfeit Medicines’ took place in the Garda College Templemore from Monday the 28th November to Wednesday the 30th November 2011. The course was organised with the assistance of the CEPOL Secretariat and was hosted in the Garda College.

Sixteen participants from eight Member States attended the course. Over three days presentations were provided from a range of experts involved in the Pharmaceutical, Health and Enforcement industries.

Day one of the course was opened by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne who has responsibility for the Irish National Support Services. He welcomed the participants and the experts and stressed the importance of a partnership approach from law enforcement and the pharmaceutical industry in tackling this international crime. He highlighted the involvement of organised crime and also the damaging effects of counterfeit medicines to the health of the public.

Ashley How, Director EMEA, Pharmaceutical Security Institute, (PSI) provided an ‘Industry Overview’ and was followed by Hugo K. Bonar, Enforcement Manager, Irish Medicines Board, who highlighted the ‘Threats to Health and Effects’ of counterfeit medicines.

The following day Nimo Ahmed, Enforcement Group Manager, MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), introduced a case study where a successful investigation and convictions took place, tracking counterfeit medicines through a number of European Member States. Unfortunately Aline Plançon, Interpol, who was to provide a presentation on ‘Counterfeit Medicine and Organised Crime’ was unable to travel due to a flight disruption in Paris.

On day three of the course David Shore, Senior Director EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), Pfizer Inc., provided a presentation on the response of industry to counterfeit medicines and gave a number of examples of successful operations against counterfeiters. Michael Doherty, Irish Revenue Commissioners gave a presentation on the EU Customs response to counterfeit Medicines.

The Course was moderated by Superintendent Eamon O Grady who specialises in the investigation of counterfeiting operations, who led discussion and a number of workshops during which topics such as ‘Public/Private relationships and partnerships’ and ‘Inter Agency Collaboration & Management of trans-national investigations’ were discussed.

This was the first CEPOL course on this subject and feedback from participants reflected the importance of this topic and networking among specialists:

‘With my current role as head of IP Crime this course hit the spot and gave me some interesting learning which I will pass on’

‘The industry experts were very informative and forceful in their presentations and gave a great insight into industry problems and what their agendas were in relation to this topic’

‘Very useful presentations and organisation was perfect. Aside from the obvious potential to learn and exchange information this course proved very valuable as an opportunity to network with like-minded professionals’

The Irish CEPOL Team would like to thank the participants for their engagement during the course and the experts for providing us with their expertise.

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