31 March 2023
Work package no.1: Raising awareness of the risks associated with the use of substandard and falsified medical products
A regional seminar on law enforcement around substandard and falsified medical products was held 27-31 March 2023 in Accra, Ghana, as part of the MEDISAFE project. The seminar brought together representatives from law enforcement bodies in Ghana, Malawi, Seychelles and Zambia.
The objectives of the seminar were to strengthen the skills of participating countries around identifying and controlling substandard and falsified medical products (SFMPs), and to improve inter-agency cooperation at national and regional levels. The major focus was on sensitizing law enforcement bodies around the need to factor in the transnational nature of organized crime to combat SFMPs.
A five-day training program, interactive presentations, discussions and practical workshops were delivered by the two international law enforcement experts from the MEDISAFE project. 30 national representatives from port and airport authorities, police, customs and national drug regulatory authorities took part. Various different subjects were covered:
The importance of intelligence in understanding this complex form of crime and the groups that engage in it was a particular focus. MEDISAFE experts stressed in particular that intelligence provides a clear picture of the threat and identifies opportunities for police operations to counter it. Money laundering was also a focus area, since it helps to link SFMP-related crime to transnational criminal groups around the world and other forms of crime.
The seminar ended with a visit to Tema port at the invitation of the Ghanaian authorities. This provided an opportunity to test out their advanced procedures for detecting and controlling SFMPs, and to observe the quality of national coordination to counter illegal shipments.
Throughout the seminar, representatives from law enforcement bodies demonstrated a shared willingness to cooperate. They actively participated and shared many experiences and information, which greatly contributed to the success of the event.