Over the last few months, my colleague, Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli (Vice President, Deputy Head Global Clinical Development, Head of Global Business & Science Affairs at Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Switzerland) and myself, undertook several research projects analyzing the risk of terrorism to the pharmaceutical industry. We have published various articles on the subject (including in a forthcoming issue of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism) and just completed a short documentary which aims at raising awareness on these dangerous recent developments. The result of our research has lead us to advice and brief governmental and non-governmental bodies; including the Israeli Ministry of Health and the Israeli National Security Council.
The documentary presents unique data which demonstrates that at least one terrorist organization – Hezbollah – is already involved in manufacturing and distributing counterfeit medications. Hezbollah is liable to use its production centers, international smuggling and distribution networks, and ties to international crime syndicates to insert deadly fake drugs into the pharmaceuticals market.
This poses new and different challenges which need to be recognized and addressed by decision–makers, security agencies and the global pharmaceutical industry. By understanding the potential gaps and the associated risks, and by taking the recommended measures, the pharmaceutical industry can prevent or minimize the possibility of potentially severe consequences for the public and the industry..