Part of the control activity carried out by the Office concerns the handling of alerts relating to the finding of suspected medicinal products at customs or within the national territory.
In particular, this activity includes in a series of checks for ascertaining, where possible, the origin/nature of the medicinal products and their composition through laboratory analyses carried out by the Institute of Health (ISS) on the basis of an agreement between the Agency and the ISS.
The Office participates actively in the annual monitoring activities, one of which is PANGEA, an international operation to fight against illegal drug trafficking, coordinated by INTERPOL and the World Customs Organisation.
At national level, activities are carried out by the bodies that participate in the National Anti-Counterfeit Task Force (previously called IMPACT Italia): AIFA, Ministry of Health, Customs Agency, NAS unit of the Carabinieri police, ISS for the subsequent analytical investigations.
During the week dedicated to checks, all consignments containing – or suspected to contain medicinal products – are inspected at the identified customs premises.
Data from recent operations confirm that the number of Italians turning to unofficial channels – such as unauthorised websites – for the purchase of medicines continues to be high. The most commonly purchased medicines are those for treating erectile dysfunctions, which account for more than 60 % of the medicines seized. However, this phenomenon is not confined solely to such particular product category. It is much wider. Other illegal or falsified medicines seized include analgesics, antivirals, anorectics and anti-inflammatory medicines.
These different types of medicines all have in common an essential critical aspect, that is the danger to health, both public and of the individual, due to the uncontrolled conditions in which they are produced, and to the improper use, which usually happens without medical supervision.
Citizens and health professionals may report any suspected cases by filling in the attached form.