Prescription Drugs

Geographic Distribution

The PSI roughly follows the regional categories established by the U.S. Department of State.  Using these categories, incident data was analyzed with respect to seven regions of the world. Within the 5,987 pharmaceutical crime incidents, the Institute found:​

 

  • A thirty-eight percent increase (+38%) in the worldwide incident total

 

  • All seven regions experienced an increase in new incidents in CY 2021

 

  • 142 countries were impacted by pharmaceutical crime

 

 

 

 

 

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In the above chart, the regions are ranked in order from those with the highest number of incidents to those with the lowest.

 

It is important to note that the regions that are more frequently linked to incidents are not necessarily those with weak enforcement and inspection programs. Rather, countries in these regions are effectively identifying pharmaceutical crime through law enforcement activity and inspections by drug regulatory agencies. Many countries in regions with high incident totals are quite transparent in government operations, and their activities are known to the media and public.

 

Those regions with seemingly low incident totals are not necessarily unaffected by or at a lower risk of pharmaceutical crime. Due to competing law enforcement priorities, lack of funding, or inadequate regulatory structures in certain regions of the world, counterfeit medicines often go undetected. It is important to recognize these facts since they complicate region to region comparisons.

Totals exceed 5,987 incidents because a region is included if it is the "origin, point of seizure or transit, or destination" of illegal pharmaceuticals.