FIGURE 2-4 Comparative values of trafficking flows in West Africa.
SOURCE: UNODC, 2009.
Development and Crime (UNODC) reckons that in West Africa the sale in falsified medicines may be worth as much as the billion-dollar oil and cocaine trafficking industries; their estimate of the worth of trafficked antimalarials alone is more than $400 million (see Figure 2-4).
Chapter 4 describes why medicines fraud is sometimes called the perfect crime. Fake medicines generate income for criminals, and only the weakest evidence, if any, ties them to their crime. Acute cases of medicine poisoning can elicit public outcry, but more often bad drugs go unnoticed, blending in with lawful business. Victims of falsified and substandard drugs usually do not even know they are victims and are therefore deprived of their right to redress. The UNODC described the traffic in fake drugs as both as cause and an effect of political instability, explaining, “Living in a society where