Health & medicine

Counterfeit medical devices: on the rise during Covid-19?

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a surge of counterfeits on the market due to shortages of essential medical products and devices. But what do we really know about counterfeiting in the medical devices sector, and how can the industry play its part to tackle the problem?
Abi Millar finds out more. 

In March 2020, as Covid-19 spread around the world, many essential medical products fell into short supply. Surgical masks, and other PPE, were particularly hard to come by, with existing supply chains buckling under this unprecedented strain.

Medical device companies rose to the challenge admirably. But they weren’t the only ones producing supplies. That month, a global operation by Interpol, dubbed Operation Pangea XIII, seized some 37,000 counterfeit medical devices, most of which were surgical masks. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals were rampant too, including products like the dubiously named ‘corona spray’.

“Once again, Operation Pangea shows that criminals will stop at nothing to make a profit. The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis shows their total disregard for people’s wellbeing or their lives,” said Jürgen Stock, Interpol’s secretary-general.

Read the rest of this article in the November 2021 edition of Medical Technology

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