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22 March 2023

Technical seminar on acceding to the MEDICRIME Convention in Burundi

Action plan

Work package no.2: Promotion of the adoption of comprehensive and harmonized legislation and regulations which criminalize the production, storage, transportation and sale substandard and falsified medical products.


A technical seminar was held under the MEDISAFE project 20-22 March 2023 in Bujumbura to support Burundi with acceding to the Council of Europe-developed MEDICRIME Convention. All national stakeholders were present. Presentations and discussion sessions focused on requirements of the Convention in relation to the criminalization of substandard and falsified medical products.

At an experience-sharing meeting in April 2022 in Nairobi, Burundi highlighted that they planned to consult their government about the country acceding the MEDICRIME Convention. The three-day seminar was organized to support national legal experts with this task.

The main objective of the event was to raise awareness among government officials, members of parliament and the judiciary on the value of acceding the Convention. The event also aimed to support lawyers from relevant ministries to develop and strengthen their membership documents.

The agenda focused on several interventions. The MEDISAFE project objectives and achievements in combatting organized crime were presented, followed by definitions of substandard and falsified medical products, as well as challenges around criminalizing SFMPs in the 11 project partner countries.

The seminar then focused on the MEDICRIME Convention and the different provisions and penalties that it sets out. In his presentation, Oscar Alarcon Jiménez, the Council of Europe representative and Executive Secretary of the Committee of the Parties to the MEDICRIME Convention, highlighted the benefits of internationally streamlining the legal framework criminalizing the production, storage, transport and sale of substandard and falsified medical products. The Convention plays an important role in preventing and combating threats to public health by criminalizing certain acts, protecting the rights of victims and promoting national and international cooperation.

The process to sign up to the Convention was a key focus. Details and explanations were given about the three-stage joining process: the applicant country requests an invitation, it is signed and then ratified. The authorities were also trained around developing the joining documents. Finally, Burundi’s legal framework for combating substandard and falsified medical products was reviewed.

The seminar provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences on their achievements, lessons learned and challenges to achieve the project objectives. The rich discussions and debates demonstrated that the program had contributed to increasing awareness of the importance of combating substandard and falsified medical products. At the end of the three days, participants had gained an understanding of the value of the MEDICRIME Convention and had robust knowledge on the legal considerations relating to substandard and falsified medical products to be able put together a membership request.

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