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Trends and challenges in the online trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals

There is consent that the Internet is a primary criminal market for counterfeit pharmaceuticals. So far, however, the online trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals has been surprisingly under-investigated by criminologists. However, if this dangerous Internet-mediated trade has to be effectively controlled, considerably more knowledge on recent trends and changes in the organization of this criminal activity has to be built. This study contributes in this domain by looking at how the Internet is specifically used as a facilitator for the trade in counterfeits pharmaceuticals. Based on interviews and investigative cases analysed through a crime script, this study pinpoints the criminal opportunities made available by the specificities of the Internet, identifies what specific phases of the trafficking activity they facilitate, investigates how such opportunities are exploited by criminal actors, and offers updated insights on how actors involved in the online market in counterfeit pharmaceuticals behave.

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