HomeNewsBriefParaguay False Medicine Bust Small Victory
BRIEF

Paraguay False Medicine Bust Small Victory

PARAGUAY / 16 JAN 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Authorities in Paraguay have dismantled a third laboratory in three months dedicated to producing counterfeit pharmaceuticals, highlighting an illicit domestic trade that officials say makes up to 30 percent of the medicine sales in the country.

The most recent laboratory was found in the Loma Pyta neighborhood of Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion. Police arrested the owner of the home where the laboratory was located, and seized various tablets, boxes and machinery, some stamped with the logo of the Institute of Social Care (IPS), the country’s social security body, reported ABC.

Police also found evidence of the falsification of products such as Viagra and Cytotec — a pill that can be used as emergency contraception — along with documents and receipts that may help identify the companies that provided the raw materials for the false medicines.

According to investigators, the detainee had been operating for years, using a network of contacts to distribute his products in the capital and throughout the country. He is believed to have enjoyed the complicity of local officials.

Following the discovery, Luis Avila of the Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CIFARMA) told Canal 100 that 30 percent of medicine sold in Paraguay was illicit, reported ABC. He said black market sales networks were composed of 12 to 15 people, involved in both distribution and logistics.

InSight Crime Analysis

In June last year, Paraguay’s prosecutor general warned that the country’s counterfeit drug trade was controlled by criminal organizations that used the profits to finance other crimes. According to CIFARMA, the Triple Frontier region — where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay share borders — is particularly important to the trade in false medicines. This poorly policed and corrupt region is a major hub for contraband and narcotics moved between the three countries, making it a prime location for counterfeit pharmaceutical sales.

The belief official collusion helped the suspect in the current case operate with impunity points to high levels of corruption in Paraguay, a country where the president himself has faced accusations of drug trafficking ties.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

False pharmaceuticals are a major problem throughout Latin America, with up to 30 percent of drugs available in the region estimated to be counterfeit. Last year, Colombia’s customs chief said the trade is potentially as lucrative as narcotics trafficking. The accompanying health risks are clear: false medicines kill over 1 million people in the world each year, according to the international police body Interpol.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

BRAZIL / 8 MAR 2021

Criminal dynamics in Brazil, particularly its drug trafficking routes, have been shaken up in recent years by the rapid expansion…

EPP / 3 OCT 2014

Paraguay's anti-drug chief has said the EPP guerrilla group has moved from taxing drug production to producing their own marijuana,…

BRAZIL / 31 AUG 2017

Brazil authorities have reportedly dismantled an international drug trafficking network that purchased tons of drugs from a Brazilian crime…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…