In 2011 the domestic value of counterfeit pharmaceuticals stopped from entering the US totalled $16.8m (€13.2m), up from $5.7m a year ago. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attributed the leap to their enforcement efforts.
“CBP and ICE conducted a number of successful enforcement efforts in FY2011 targeting counterfeit pharmaceuticals and perfumes, which resulted in substantial increases in the number and value of seizures”, the agencies said in a report.
In 2010 pharmaceuticals fell outside the top 10 most seized items, with fewer than 594 incidents. Last year pharmaceuticals jumped to the sixth most seized item, with 1,239 incidents at US customs.
In monetary terms, pharmaceuticals were the third most seized item, accounting for almost one-tenth of the total. A year ago counterfeit pharmaceuticals accounted for three per cent of the total value of seizures.
Pharmaceuticals shipped from China, India and Pakistan topped the seizures list. Across all types of products China was the most common source of counterfeit goods. Pharmaceuticals accounted for six per cent of the total value of China-sourced products seized at US borders.
India and Pakistan trailed China as the most common sources of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Both had more than $3m of fake drugs seized and this pushed them into the top five sources for all counterfeits by value. In both cases drugs accounted for 85 per cent of total seizure values.
US customs seized just 27 shipments from Pakistan, compared to 299 from India, suggesting large packages of pharmaceuticals were intercepted. Clothes were the only other Pakistan-sourced item US customs seized in significant quantities.