Work package no.1: Raising awareness of the risks associated with the use of substandard and falsified medical products
As part of the MEDISAFE project, a regional training on the identification and control of substandard and falsified medicines and health products was held on 30 May to 4 June 2022 in Mombasa, Kenya. The seminar brought together representatives from regulatory and enforcement agencies from six participating countries.
The primary objective of the seminar was to strengthen the knowledge and skills of law enforcement agencies (port and airport authorities, police, customs and national drug regulatory authorities) around identifying and controlling sub-standard and falsified medicines and health products. The five days of training and discussions highlighted the challenges law enforcement officers faced in dealing with organized crime related to falsified medicines and its transnational implications.
44 representatives from 21 regulatory and enforcement organizations participated in the event. Participants represented six countries, namely Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Two Regional Economic Commissions in Africa, the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Developing (IGAD) were also present.
The event was comprised a series of meetings, training workshops and brainstorming sessions, led by a law enforcement expert from INTERPOL. The sessions improved participants’ knowledge of:
There was also a focus on money laundering, which is often linked to other serious forms of crime and is managed by transnational organized criminal groups operating around the world. Participants were given information about the role that intelligence can play in understanding and prosecuting complex crimes of this kind and the groups involved in it.
Regional cooperation was a cross-cutting topic throughout the seminar. The group was able to identify opportunities for collaboration around intelligence and investigating cross-border activities. These discussions were highly pertinent to the audience given the senior-level ranks of the participants in attendance. The range of experiences and agencies present generated productive and high-quality discussions.
At the end of the training, delegates had the chance to visit the Port of Mombasa. The port is a key sea-hub which handles a significant volume of container goods to Kenya and surrounding hinterland countries. It is also a major regional center for detecting and combatting trafficking of counterfeit goods including falsified and sub-standard medicines. During the visit, participants were shown some of the port’s infrastructure to familiarize themselves with its processes and procedures.
As a whole, the seminar enabled participants to understand the transnational nature of organized crime and to consider new approaches based on different typologies of transnational organized crime, corruption and smuggling methodologies. They also gained a more in-depth understanding of international trade and counterfeit medicines in terms of the country of origin / destination, products and the logistical context (types of information available in the international customs and freight context). They also gained an understanding of the roles of law enforcement agencies and of international organizations such as INTERPOL, UNODC and WCO and joint anti-smuggling operations.
Other seminars on the topic of law enforcement are planned for sub-regional beneficiaries.
X-ray scanner for containers and vehicles at the Port of Mombassa.