The combat against counterfeiting started during the 1980s and, at that time, was limited to sectors where it was frequently the consumer who asked for the product, and was even party to the purchase. Above all, it is only since the start of the 2000s that the situation expanded substantially particularly with the liberalisation of the WTO, technological developments, containerisation and the significance of China as the world’s factory. On the other hand, it was only later that counterfeiting seemed to affect the pharmaceutical sector, at least from the industrial point of view. Studies and reports have covered the involvement of organised crime in ‘traditional’ counterfeiting, particularly in creative industries (luxury goods, audiovisual).

Nevertheless, even if there are more and more discussions on the topics of ‘counterfeit medicines’ and ‘organised crime’ very few researchers have analysed the relationship between the two phenomena. Consequently it appeared that such a report should be written and a dual objective was decided:

  • To take as objective and as rigorous a view as possible on the reality of the “counterfeiting-criminal organisations” combination in the area of medicines.
  • From a criminology and strategic standpoint, to give some consideration to what could be done to guide current actions.