A new report on the United States Customs & Border Protection Agency shows that the government group seized an estimated $83 million in counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical devices in 2012.
The report on the U.S. Customs Agency was released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and detailed the total number of medical device and pharmaceutical seizures over the past year. The agency does not discriminate between medical devices and pharmaceuticals; all seizures are categorized as medical products.
In total, U.S. Customs seized approximately 2,000 counterfeit medical products out of 22,848 total counterfeit product seizures. Knockoff medical products comprised nine percent of the agency’s total seizures. This represents a decrease in counterfeit medical product seizures of 27 percent from the previous year (2011). The total value of all seizures in 2012 was $1.26 billion.
According to the report, $47 million of the confiscated medical products originated from China. With lax copyright and regulatory standards, the country harbors many manufacturers of counterfeit products. In total, almost 75 percent of counterfeit goods across all categories were shipped from China. Singapore and India were also a significant source of counterfeit goods.
The counterfeit industry has grown in recent years. Since the Internet gives counterfeit goods manufacturers new ways to connect with customers, the number of packages shipped in personal quantities has increased. In the report, officials said, “In recent years, the Internet has fueled explosive growth in the numbers of small packages of counterfeit and pirated goods shipped through express carriers and mail.”