1) Objectives of the project
More than 80 prosecutors and judges from 20 European countries participated in the Seminar organised in Paris on 22-23 January 2015. The objective of Pharmacrime 4 was to increase the effectiveness of investigations related to falsified/counterfeit medicines by increasing awareness of judges and prosecutors. The project will produce two main outputs: 1) a European Guide on good practices for judges and prosecutors involved in investigation on falsified medicines and 2) a conference for 80 European judges and prosecutors.
2) Problem addressed by the project
The capacity of judges and prosecutors to understand and guide falsified/counterfeit medicines investigations and prosecutions is key to the success of criminal investigations. However, recent legislation on falsified/counterfeit medicines such as the EU Directive on Falsified Medicines (Directive 2011/62/EU) and Conventions such as the Council of Europe Medicrime Convention and the UNODC UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime with the UNODC Resolution on Fraudulent Medicines can be challenging for judges and prosecutors. There is also a need to identify how existing national legislations (such as consumer protection legislation, public health legislation, legislation on fraud, conspiracy legislation, trademark/counterfeiting legislation, legislation on anti-money laundering, cybercrime and asset confiscation, etc.) can be used to effectively fight organised crime involved in the area of falsified medicines.
In addition, there is a need to reinforce the synergies between police & other law enforcement agencies and justice with regard to pharmaceutical crime investigations. There is also a need to educate investigators, judges and prosecutors about existing structures supporting international investigations effectively such as Joint Investigation Teams (JIT), EUROJUST or EUROPOL.
These challenges can lead prosecutors and even investigators to avoid pursuing falsified medicines investigations that they may perceive as too complex or solely related to IPR (Intellectual Property Right) investigations, particularly when other offences are disclosed, for example supplying illegal narcotics.
3) Implementation and funding
The project "Pharmacrime 4" was implemented between August 2014 and February 2015. The project is funded by IRACM, a leading international NGO providing research and training against counterfeit medicines (www.IRACM.com) The project is implemented by EUCOJUST AISBL (www.eucojust.org) in cooperation with the following partners (alphabetical order):
- EJTN -European Judicial Training Network
- FAMHP - Federal Agency for medicines and health care products (Belgium)
- GUARDIA CIVIL - Consumption and Environmental Section, Operative Cental Unit (Spain)
- HPRA - Health Product Regulatory Authority (Ireland)
- INTERPOL - International Criminal Police Organisation
- NAS (Anti Fraud Squad/Carabinieri) (Italy)
- MHRA - Medicine and Healthcare Product Regulatory Agency (UK)
- OCLAESP - Office Against Public Health Crime (France)
- PFIPC - Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime
- PSI - Pharmaceutical Security Institute