UNODC has provided a guide to countries that are recommended for use to combat the menace of falsified medical products crime.
The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice resolved in their meetings to combat the menace. They request the member countries to apply the provision of Combating Falsified Medical of falsified medical Products-Related Crime: A Guide to Good Legislative Practices guide to eradicating the crime of falsification of medicine by reviewing their laws and making appropriate adjustments.
The guide was developed after receiving many credible reports of severe health needs arising from complications and it was established to be a result of using falsified medicine which is usually trafficked.
“The growing phenomenon of the falsification of medical products threatens the right to life, as enshrined in different international human rights instruments. In its resolution 20/6, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice urged the Member States to prevent trafficking in fraudulent medicines by introducing legislation ,as appropriate ,covering, in particular ,all offences related to fraudulent medicines ,such as money-laundering ,corruption and smuggling, a well as the confiscation and disposal of criminal assets, extradition and mutual legal assistance ,to ensure that no stage in the supply chain of fraudulent medicines was overlooked,” stated UNODC.
The countries in the world have the work of localizing the provisions of the guide to align perfectly to their laws. UNODC recommends that relevant stakeholders should be involved in the process of reviewing the laws and decide whether to amend or make new laws.
UNODC identified that the crime of falsified medicine emanates in environments where there is no supply of medicine when needed. And promoted by low work ethics of healthcare service providers and environments that do not punish crimes.
The crimes in the falsification of medicines are the manufacture of falsified medical products, trafficking of a falsified medical product, possession of the falsified medical product, electronic and distant sale of falsified medical products and failing to report a falsified medical product. Additional crimes are a criminal association, secondary liability, obstruction of justice and money laundering.
UNODC recognizes that legally credible entities can be used to commit crimes and cover up falsification of medicine crimes by deliberately going beyond the scope of duty or basic criminals operating under the guise of work. They recommend that the context must be defined and people be liable for what they did.
UNODC states that the problem of falsification of medicines is done by organized criminals and will be eradicated through multi-team intervention by the international community. The falsification of medicine crimes are transnational in nature and needs multistakeholder intervention in different countries to counter. The international community was advised to dismantle the networks by building the capacity of agents working to end falsification of medicines.
UNODC clarifies that it is illegal to work and not the production of generic medicine or a case of infringement of intellectual property. They are advised to target their supply chains and in particular the distribution and trafficking supply chain.
The organized criminals usually exploit the gaps in law and implementation of the law and operate like the trafficking rings and also have characteristics of crimes associated with trafficking such as money-laundering, corruption, and smuggling.
UNODC states that the criminals are easy to deal with because they are simple people with limited knowledge who don’t know the difference between falsified medicines and falsified medicinal devices and that the falsified medicines eventually have harmful side effects to the people.
The problem has been identified to be promoted by insufficient legal systems characterized by weak legal frameworks, ineffective criminal laws which do not state that possession or sale of these drugs is illegal.
Most medical systems in the world are also not harmonized with other general laws and international standards. They have not clearly defined how to interpret the long-term meaning of offenses and penalties that will foster reforms.
It recommends that regulation should tighten regulation of various supply chains levels including legal production, advertising, distribution, healthcare service professionals and also educating the public consumers of medicine.
Feedback on a regular basis is also recommended for the all stages of the value chain to inform research and policy-making just like the WHO system of feedback called the WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring Systems for substandard and falsified medical products.
It is recommended that the penalties whether imprisonment or non-custodial penalties and orders should be relevant, proportional and effective to let people not engage in falsification offenses in any way.
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