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Colombia Pharmaceutical Trafficking ‘Has 1,000% Profits Margins’

counterfeit-drugs

The counterfeit pharmaceutical trade in Colombia could be as profitable as the illegal drugs market, according to Colombia’s customs chief, illustrating how organized crime groups are taking advantage of a growing global enterprise thought to be worth billions of dollars.

In the last year and a half, Colombian authorities have seized more than five million units of counterfeit drugs intended for resale, worth a total of more than US$2 million, reported Caracol. Gustavo Moreno, director of Colombia’s tax and customs police, said profit margins were between 500 and 1,000 percent, making the trade potentially as lucrative as selling illicit drugs.

These counterfeit medications fall into two main categories: contraband and fake, reported Vanguardia. Contraband medication is typically sold under a false label or past its expiration date. Fake drugs, are usually medicine packaging filled with anything from flour to cement. Both have potentially deadly effects.

serono-serostimAccording to authorities, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru are the main countries of provenance for illegal pharmaceuticals trafficked into Colombia. The medications arrive hidden in shipments of other imported goods, usually through La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Nariño, Choco and Valle departments. They are then commonly distributed to shops in “San Andresitos” — shopping areas offering contraband at heavily discounted prices.

Producing or selling fraudulent drugs has become a major criminal enterprise in recent years, responsible for one million global deaths annually, according to world police agency Interpol.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said that in some parts of Latin America, as much as 30 percent of the drugs available on the market are counterfeit, and the region has the third highest rate of pharmaceutical crime incidents after Asia and Europe, according to the NGO Pharmaceutical Security Institute.

130308columbia_lgBecause pharmaceutical trafficking is a relatively new phenomenon, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what organizations are behind the trade, but there have been some indications that established criminal organizations are entering the market, particularly in Mexico, which has a thriving trade in exporting illegal pharmaceuticals into the United States.

Trafficking routes and growing markets have also been documented in countries like Paraguay and Costa Rica, which has seen a dramatic spike in false drugs imported from Nicaragua.

Source: InsightCrime.org

The post Colombia Pharmaceutical Trafficking ‘Has 1,000% Profits Margins’ appeared first on Colombia News | QColombia.com.

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Written by Rico

Rico

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of onlinemagazines that includes TodayColombia.com. Rico brings his special kind of savvy to online marketing. His websites are engaging, provocative, informative and sometimes off the wall, where you either like or you leave it. The same goes for him, like him or leave him.There is no middle ground. No compromises, only a passion to present reality as he sees it!