Counterfeit Drug Enforcement Targets Express Carrier Shipments
U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that a joint operation with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in 2011 that targeted counterfeit pharmaceuticals in mail and express carrier shipments resulted in enforcement actions against more than 1,200 shipments of illegal drugs. “The trend in shipping patterns for infringing merchandise has shifted to international mail and express packages,” said Al Gina, assistant commissioner for CBP’s Office of International Trade, and “in the past five years, we have seen these types of seizures increase by more than 80 percent.”
According to a CBP press release, Operation APEC started in March and ran through November, including a 10-day enforcement operation at select express carrier and international mail facilities in June and July. CBP officers examined more than 3,000 shipments during the operation and seized 441, including 99 for intellectual property rights infringement. The types of drugs seized included weight loss supplements, erectile dysfunction drugs and pain medications.
The APEC economies that participated in the enforcement partnership were China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Thailand. CBP notes that a final report on the operation has resulted in the development of model practices that can guide customs authorities in combating fakes at international mail and express carrier facilities.