Illicit Trade

Converging Criminal Networks

image of Illicit Trade

This report assesses the magnitude, flows and drivers of illicit trade and the illegal economy including: narcotics, human trafficking, wildlife, sports betting, counterfeit medicines, alcohol and tobacco. The negative socio-economic impacts that these markets have in consumer countries are as worrisome as the goverance gaps that are exploited in source countries. This report examines each illicit sector in terms of the geographic sources, destinations and key trade routes, the current trend of infiltration by organized crime networks, and good practices or future policy solutions with which to combat illicit trade within the various sectors.



Illicit trade in counterfeit medicines

This chapter presents an assessment of illicit trade in counterfeit medicines, which in the 21st century has changed starkly in its geographical scope and pervasiveness across different product classes. Masquerading as curative medicines, counterfeit pharmaceuticals are increasingly prevalent and profitable. In addressing the threat of counterfeit drugs, there is obvious scope for benefiting both consumers and international pharmaceutical firms. Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has been identified over thirty years ago but went undiscussed. The industry now not only readily concedes counterfeiting is a threat to its business, in some cases it publicly addresses the strategies and anti-counterfeiting technologies in use and development. Acknowledging the problem enables better partnering with governments, health advocates and other supply-chain entities, since the incentives are aligned to prevent counterfeiting. In light of the more public and more aggressive campaigns against counterfeiting, it is important to examine the extent of the problem, what is known about counterfeit production and distribution, the links to organised crime and the policy responses that have been particularly effective. This paper reviews each of these in turn, as well as new policy initiatives that appear promising.


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