Fake medicines cost the EU pharmaceutical sector €10.2 billion each year

They also result in the loss of 37,700 jobs, finds EUIPO report

A new report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that 4.4% of legitimate sales of pharmaceuticals are lost each year in the EU because of counterfeiting.

Those lost sales are costing the EU pharmaceutical sector €10.2 billion annually.

They also translate into 37,700 jobs directly lost in the pharma industry, as legitimate manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceuticals employ fewer people than they would have done in the absence of counterfeiting.

When the knock-on effect of counterfeit pharmaceuticals on other sectors is taken into account, an additional 53,200 jobs are lost elsewhere in the EU economy.

The total yearly loss of government revenue as a result of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in this sector across the EU-28 in terms of household income taxes, social security contributions and corporate income taxes is estimated at €1.7 billion.

The study refers only to manufacturing and wholesale and does not include retailers (such as pharmacies). It covers medicines, vaccines and homeopathic preparations; chemical contraceptive products for external use and hormonal contraceptive products; medical diagnostic preparations; radioactive in vivo diagnostic substances and biologics.

The report estimates that €605 million, or 3.3% of the UK pharmaceutical sector’s sales, is lost annually as a result of counterfeiting, with 2940 direct jobs lost.

In Germany, the figures are €1 billion, or 2.9% of sales, lost annually, with 6951 jobs lost.

Up to €1.59 billion, or 5% of the Italian pharmaceutical sector’s sales, is lost each year, the report estimates, with 3945 jobs lost.

In France, €1 billion, or 3% of pharmaceutical sales, are lost annually as a result of counterfeiting, with 3667 jobs lost.

Meanwhile in Spain, up to €1.17 billion, or 5.9% of pharmaceutical sales, are lost each year as a result of counterfeiting, the report estimates, with 3223 jobs lost.

EUIPO’s Executive Director, António Campinos, said: 'We know through analysis done by the World Health Organization (WHO) that both generic and innovator medicines are falsified, from cancer products to inexpensive pain treatments. 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,' he added. The report, released in a joint event organised at the EUIPO with ASGECO, the Spanish General Association of Consumers, is opening the third edition of its 'Consume original' campaign.