03.03.2023, 17:52

Advanced Crime Analytics to Combat the Trade of Counterfeit Medicines

Counterfeiters in the pharmaceutical industry are drawn to the underground market because of the enormous profits to be made, the low likelihood of being caught or prosecuted, the cheap penalties for selling counterfeit drugs, and the simplicity with which consumers can be fooled into buying such medicines because of the urgent nature of the product. Counterfeit medicines not only cause economic damage to the sector but are also a significant threat to public health since they are often not adequately formulated and may contain dangerous ingredients. Free trade zones have facilitated trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals, providing a venue for packaging and repackaging products in ways that effectively disguise their true origin.

The counterfeit medicine trade is a significant concern in Southeast Asia, where informal distribution is more widespread and less secure. The WHO estimates that up to 10% of medicine sold in developing countries is fake, most stemming from Southeast Asia. Counterfeit medicine is often poorly made, with incorrect or inadequate active ingredients, and can lead to a range of adverse health outcomes, including severe injury or death. The illicit trade of counterfeit medicine is often connected to transnational organised crime, as it requires the same networks and infrastructure as other forms of trafficking. Criminals involved in the trade of counterfeit medicine often operate in the shadows, making it difficult to identify and prosecute them. This has made it challenging to address counterfeit medicine in Southeast Asia effectively. 
The criminal activities that lubricate the trade in counterfeit medicines extend far beyond the manufacturers of the pharmaceutical industry. The realm of such business incorporates illegal transportation facilities that aid in facilitating such crimes. Black market traders enabling the sale of such medicines are equally responsible for the crime. As such, to combat a multifaceted problem, integrated border security becomes essential with cross-border intelligence sharing and increased collaboration among law enforcement agencies and industry partners to combat the multilateral illegal trafficking of counterfeit drugs and to reduce their entry into the regulated market.
One organisation that is working to combat this issue is the Wynyard Group, a global leader in advanced crime analytics. The company's crime forecasting software solution uses artificial intelligence to analyse large amounts of unstructured data and identify patterns and trends that may indicate criminal activity. This enables law enforcement and other relevant authorities to effectively target and disrupt criminal networks, including those involved in the counterfeit medicine trade.
In addition to its use in law enforcement, Wynyard Group's Advanced Crime Analytics platform can also be utilised by companies in the pharmaceutical industry to protect their products and consumers from counterfeiting. By analysing data on the production, distribution, and sale of their products, companies can identify and address potential counterfeiting risks, helping to ensure that consumers receive safe and effective medicine. Overall, the problem of counterfeit medicine trade in Southeast Asia is a serious and complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach to address. The use of crime analytics software solutions can be an essential tool in the fight against this crime. By providing authorities with the ability to target and disrupt criminal networks, advanced crime analytics can help to protect the public from the dangers of counterfeit medicine and improve public health in Southeast Asia.
The proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods directly results from globalisation's ability to provide new channels for criminal networks to operate. As these networks take advantage of advances in technology and the internet, advances in technology can be the only proper mitigation tool that can be used to combat such extensive and deep-rooted threats to the health of the general public.