EU: Billions in losses due to pharmaceutical counterfeits

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Counterfeited medications in the EU cause annual financial damages of more than 10 billion euro, as shown by a new study by the EUIPO. This causes revenue losses of 4.4% per year for the original manufacturers, among other damages.

In addition to devastating financial losses, the trade in counterfeited medications in the EU also causes significant job losses: Some 38,000 positions in the branch are destroyed each year. This is the shocking result of a new study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).*

If one includes the further impact of pharmaceutical counterfeiting on other branches, the annual damages come to an estimated 17 billion euro and 91,000 lost jobs.

The EU country that manufactures the most medications is Germany (ca. 41 billion euro), followed by Ireland (26 billion euro), France (25 billion euro) and Italy (20 billion euro). The absolute losses suffered by pharmaceutical manufacturers are distributed similarly.

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The relative revenue loss of German pharmaceutical manufacturers, however, lies at around 2.9% on average and therefore under the EU average of ca. 4.4%. Manufacturers in Bulgaria are most heavily affected, with an average of 17.6% in lost revenue, followed by Romania (16.6%) and Hungary (13.3%).

“We know through analysis done by the World Health Organization (WHO) that both generic and innovator medicines are falsified. These fakes can be toxic and pose a serious danger to health. Our report shows that they also have a serious impact on the economy and on jobs,” explained António Campinos, Executive Director of the EUIPO.

The report about the consequences of counterfeits in the pharmaceutical industry is part of a series of studies with which the EUIPO seeks to document the threat of product and brand piracy. Previously it published reports on damages from counterfeits in the cosmetics branch, the clothing industry, the sporting goods industry, and the toy branch (cf. our respective German-language reports).

* The consequences of counterfeited medications in the context of the EUIPO study only include manufacturing and wholesale, excluding retail sales.

Source: EUIPO

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