The Council of Europe has long been concerned about the absence of harmonised international legislation, non-deterrent sanctions that were not proportionate to the harm caused to patients, and the involvement of criminal organisations which operate across borders.

Counterfeiting medical products and similar crimes threaten the right to life enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). Incidences of counterfeit medical products and similar crimes undermine public trust in healthcare systems and authorities' surveillance thereof.

Handbook for Parliamentarians

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Handbook for Parliamentarians


"In recent years, occurrences of counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes have increased worldwide. These crimes endanger public health, and affect patients and their confidence in the legal marketplace.

Even more profitable than drug trafficking, this new form of crime has an undeniable advantage for criminals: they go largely unpunished or receive only mild sanctions. Even when states take strict measures to regulate the production and distribution of medical products and devices, these measures often prove insufficient, especially when criminal networks find gaps in national legislations allowing them to make substantial profits at the expense of people’s lives and health. The MEDICRIME Convention was drafted to protect vulnerable patients and their right to safe access to medicines of appropriate quality, and to fight against organised crime. As the first and only international treaty dealing with this problem, the convention aims at prosecuting the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes, protecting the rights of victims and promoting national and international co-operation."

Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes logo

Counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes


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