Launches project to control fake vaccines
There is a risk that criminal syndicates may attempt to fake and counterfeit the COVID-19 vaccines by exploiting the distribution which is of primary importance to every nation, and the transportation of vaccines across borders is becoming the world’s largest and fastest operation ever.
In response to this risk, and to address the threat posed by illegal products such as dangerous, sub-standard or counterfeit medicines and vaccines, the Secretary-General of World Customs Organization (WCO) Dr. Kunio Mikuriya has disclosed that WCO has launched a new initiative entitled “Project on the urgent need for facilitation and coordinated Customs control of cross-border consignments linked to COVID-19”.
According to him, the aim of this project, which is funded by Japan Customs, is to stop cross-border consignments of fake vaccines and other illicit goods linked to COVID-19, while ensuring the smooth movement of the corresponding, legitimate shipments.
“In the context of the pandemic, it is crucial that Customs facilitates, to the greatest extent possible, legitimate trade in vaccines, medicines and medical supplies linked to COVID-19. However, Customs also has a determinant role to play in the fight against the illicit trade in similar sub-standard or counterfeit goods to protect societies,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya.
This project is part of the actions referred to in the WCO Council Resolution adopted in December 2020 on the Role of Customs in Facilitating the Cross-Border Movement of Situationally Critical Medicines and Vaccines.
Its objectives include the application of a coordinated Customs approach, in close cooperation with vaccine-producing companies and the transport industry as well as with other international organizations, to the control of international trade flows of these goods.
Also envisaged under this initiative is the use of updated versions of CEN applications to analyse new trends in illicit trade, as well as capacity-building activities to raise awareness on trade in fake vaccines and other illicit goods.
Secretary-General Mikuriya thanked Japan Customs for its financial support, which has made the project possible in such a timely manner.