Africa: 550 million counterfeit medicine seized in 10 days

In April 2013 a Customs operation of an unequalled scale took place in numerous African ports. As a result, more than one billion illicit articles and in particular 550 million doses of illicit, potentially dangerous if not deadly medicines were discovered in ship containers. The operation, called “BIYELA” was organised by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in partnership with the Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) and with the cooperation of the Customs administrations of 23 African countries.

The seized medicine included: antibiotics, pain-killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, medicines for high blood pressure and diabetes and food supplements. The total value of the medicines collected is estimated at more than $275 million US Dollars. These results reveal the extent of the traffic of illicit medicines in Africa and the danger this poses to the health of people across the African continent. “The success of customs in only 10 days and at 23 African ports provides a horrifying idea of the scourge that the traffic of fake medicines represents on this continent. It is time that all national and international authorities mobilise to protect the life of patients.” declared Jacques Franquet, Director of the IRACM.

The IRACMA is a non-profit association, that was created in October 2010. Its missions are: to raise public and authorities awareness concerning the scourge that counterfeit medicines represents, to train the committed actors in the fight against fake medicines and to serve as advisory body proposing advice and solutions to national and international political and judiciary authorities. For more information:

This entry was posted in Contraband trade, Counterfeit, Counterfeit medicines, Customs, Customs evasion, Fake, Falsification, Fraud, smuggling, WCO, World Customs Organisation, Zoll allgemein and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Africa: 550 million counterfeit medicine seized in 10 days

  1. Pingback: the Governance of Counterfeit Medicines: A Mapping Exercise… – a new paper | Washlink

  2. norabartos says:

    The importance of raising public awareness in parallel to authority awareness is not to be underestimated. Where social perception in acknowledging the disbenefits of illicit or counterfeit activities is often outweighed by primary individual interests, raising public awareness hand in hand with coordinated multi-stakeholder actions could potentially yield a more fruitful result.

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