It may be noted that Brazil and India are big producers of generic drugs. Together with some Latin American and African developing countries, the two nations urged the WHO to end IMPACT (International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce), a partnership established in 2006. IMPACT includes groups that represent the interest of pharmaceutical firms. The group also includes key inter-governmental agencies such as Interpol, the World Customs Organisation, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.
In its statement, India said that the “role of IMPACT is controversial,” adding that governments should be the ones in charge of the fight against counterfeit medicines. In response, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan only said that IMPACT was created before she arrived at the WHO. To that, Kenya told Chan that “If you’re not satisfied with the marriage, you could ask for a divorce.”
The proliferation of potentially lethal or harmful counterfeit medicines has been on the rise, particularly with the increased usage of the Internet worldwide. According to the WHO, more than half of all medicines bought online are fake. Malaria treatments are the main counterfeit medicines sold by criminal organisations, according to the International Pharmaceutical Federation, which represents two million pharmacists worldwide.