Recent seizures of fake medical supplies being marketed as protection against the novel coronavirus underscore the need to address a growing international trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals costing billions a year and putting lives at risk, the EU and OECD have warned.

The trafficking and sale of fake or defective medicines enrich criminal groups and endangers health while draining away vital industry and tax revenues, according to a joint report by the OECD and Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) of the EU released on Tuesday.

“The sale of counterfeit and defective pharmaceuticals is a despicable crime, and the discovery of fake

Read more: Fake medical product trafficking on rise amid pandemic