Governments, their law enforcement agencies, health professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, importers, distributors and consumer organizations should adopt a shared national responsibility in the fight against counterfeit drugs. Cooperation between all the relevant agencies at the subregional, regional and international levels is also essential for any success in this field.
Cooperation and collaboration between the national DRA and the police and customs services are essential for the purposes of intercepting counterfeit drugs on entry into the country, and the subsequent arrest of offenders. Cooperation between the national DRA, professional health care and consumer associations, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public can make a significant contribution to the identification of counterfeit drugs in national distribution channels. Effective cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the judiciary should also be promoted. The tasks and responsibilities of each agency must be clearly defined and understood by all those concerned.
Governments should ensure that all information on counterfeit drugs in their country is given to those concerned, in particular to the national DRA and police and customs services.
Subregional, regional and international cooperation
Cooperation between countries, especially trading partners, is very useful for combating counterfeiting, in particular to establish and maintain suitable channels of communication among authorities, and to promote training and specialization of personnel. Such cooperation should include the timely and appropriate exchange of information on imported and/or exported drugs, on manufacturers and wholesale distributors, and on the harmonization of measures to prevent the spread of counterfeit drugs. Collaboration would be improved if all countries used the WHO Certification Scheme on the Quality of Pharmaceutical Products moving in International Commerce for all drug imports and exports. Harmonization of licensing/authorization procedures between countries in the same region should also be encouraged. Countries should explore the possibility of using their diplomatic channels for the exchange of information on counterfeit drugs in international commerce.
Cooperation and collaboration of national DRAs in the same or different regions should be promoted for the purposes of sharing relevant information and for the introduction of harmonized measures to prevent the farther spread of counterfeit drugs.
Member States should inform WHO of the existence of any counterfeit drugs in their national drug distribution channels, where necessary requesting that such information be treated as confidential. It is recommended that they should select one person to liaise with counterparts in other countries on the investigation of counterfeit drugs and notify WHO accordingly.
Countries are encouraged to harmonize their drug control legislation with relevant international agreements.