Cases of counterfeiting have cost members of the European Union as much as €15 billion in foregone tax revenues, according to the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
In its latest report, the EUIPO said that the 11 sectors most impacted by counterfeiting activities were estimated to have lost over €83 billion sales between 2013 and 2017, while as much as 670,000 jobs were while the government forewent €15 billion tax earnings every year.
“As serious as these economic damages are, the harm caused to public health, consumer safety and the environment as a result of counterfeit goods is arguably an even more serious consequence,” the EUIPO said.
The European body noted for instance that an increasing counterfeit case of medicines such as cancer therapies and heart disease medications could result in “potentially deadly consequences.”
With the global pandemic also severely immobilizing people, the EUIPO said that the situation has led to counterfeiters producing fake testing kits, sub-standard personal protection equipment as well as fake medicines that were said to cure the disease.
Meanwhile, other counterfeiters produce toys, clothing, electrical equipment and common consumer goods that are likely to be dangerous due to the consumers’ potential exposure to hazardous chemicals and toxins that could cause acute or long-term harm to health, choking, electric shock, fire and various types of injuries.”
“Some types of counterfeits, such as fake pesticides, can cause harm to both the farmers applying them to their crops and to the consumers who consume the resulting produce,” the agency said.
Apart from counterfeit goods, the EUIPO also highlighted potential links between intellectual property crimes and other serious crimes such as money laundering, document fraud, cybercrime amid the growing penetration of mobile technology, drug production and trafficking and terrorism.
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