- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dozens of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have joined force with Paris-based global investigative group Interpol to root out prescription-drug counterfeiters.

Interpol has a new pharmaceutical crime program; the drug companies are helping to fund its investigations, The Associated Press reports. The effort is aimed at stopping the flow of fake brand-name and generic drugs that have flooded into prescription markets around the globe, AP says.

The fake-drug rings net criminals billions of dollars each year — but cost drug-makers a similarly-sized fortune, AP says. Patients, meanwhile, are the real victims. Medical experts say hundreds of thousands of people die each year because of counterfeit medications, AP reports.

“We will develop a program according to what is best for the international community and what will save lives,” said Aline Plancon, head of Interpol’s counterfeiting and pharmaceutical crime program, to AP.

Drug companies say they will give a total of $5.9 million in the next three years to help Interpol investigate.