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Forensic intelligence for medicine anti-counterfeiting
Forensic Science International
Medicine counterfeiting is a crime that has increased in recent years and now involves the whole world. Health and economic repercussions have led pharmaceutical industries and agencies to develop many measures to protect genuine medicines and differentiate them from counterfeits. Detecting counterfeit is chemically relatively simple for the specialists, but much more information can be gained from the analyses in a forensic intelligence perspective. Analytical data can feed criminal investigation and law enforcement by detecting and understanding the criminal phenomenon. Profiling seizures using chemical and packaging data constitutes a strong way to detect organised production and industrialised forms of criminality, and is the focus of this paper. Thirty-three seizures of a commonly counterfeited type of capsule have been studied. The results of the packaging and chemical analyses were gathered within an organised database. Strong linkage was found between the seizures at the different production steps, indicating the presence of a main counterfeit network dominating the market. The interpretation of the links with circumstantial data provided information about the production and the distribution of counterfeits coming from this network. This forensic intelligence perspective has the potential to be generalised to other types of products. This may be the only reliable approach to help the understanding of the organised crime phenomenon behind counterfeiting and to enable efficient strategic and operational decision making in an attempt to dismantle counterfeit network.
Counterfeit medicines, Profiling, Packaging, Chemical composition, Seizure information, Operational decision-making
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