European comission (EC) published a report on the application of penalties for those involved in the production and circulation of falsified medicines published. The report shows a wide variation in penalties across the EU.
Maximum prison sentences for the falsification of medicines range from one year (Sweden, Finland and Greece) to 15 years (Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia); and maximum fines range from €4300 (Lithuania) to €1 million (Spain) and ‘unlimited’ (UK).
Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “While the report published today finds measures taken by Member States to be satisfactory, penalties are only effective if they are well-enforced. Falsified medicines can kill. Therefore, I urge all EU countries to make sure that criminals falsifying medicines are punished. I seize the opportunity to remind that thanks to the common EU logo which helps identify legal online pharmacies that sell authentic and safe products, citizens can be helped to steer clear of falsified medicines. I encourage all online shoppers to stay safe by looking out for the logo and ensuring that an online pharmacy is legitimate before making a purchase.”
The report comes following the requirement enshrined in the Falsified Medicines Directive (2011/62/EU) that all EU countries put in place proportionate, effective and dissuasive penalties for those involved in the production and circulation of falsified medicines. Furthermore, Member States and stakeholders are working on a pan-EU authentication system for medicines scheduled to enter into force in February 2019. This means that the authenticity of prescription medicines will be checked before they are dispensed to patients.