Customs officials to fight 600% rise in drug fakes

Counterfeit drugs are often hidden in cargoes sent on circuitous routes to mask their country of origin, says the World Customs Organization. And the 176-country industry group plans to do something about it.

Member nations later this month will declare their intent to fight counterfeiters, who lately seem to be gaining the upper hand. WCO coordinator Christophe Zimmermann, noting the eye-opening 596 percent rise in counterfeits between 2007 and 2008, tells Reuters, "We have more fakes than real drugs in the market."

WCO comprises the chiefs of customs organizations that have joined with a fakes-fighting foundation created by former French president's Jacques Chirac. The chiefs are slated to sign a declaration next week to ban the making and marketing of counterfeit drugs. The mass signing is intended underscore proposals to revamp obsolete legislation and improve coordination between enforcement agencies.

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