The Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA), a network of the heads of European regulatory authorities, has set up various working groups to deal with specific issues. One of these is the Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), which was established in 2007. Swissmedic has played an active role in this working group for many years. The group comprises representatives of the regulatory authorities (Swissmedic, in Switzerland’s case) and representatives of national customs and police authorities. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), Europol, Interpol, the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are also represented in the group.
The main goals of the WGEO are:
- to protect human and animal health against harmful medicinal products
- to create a framework for cooperation between the various member states and agencies for the purpose of facilitating information flow
- to identify emerging threats to/abuses of the legal manufacturing and distribution chain
- to coordinate information sharing
- to promote a useful network for building trust and actively sharing experience (e.g. best practices) and expertise relating to medicinal product crime
- to deliver a practical training platform, largely for the four work streams:
- wholesale and distribution
- internet (illegal supply of medicinal products)
- falsified medicines and
- training and education
- to liaise with representatives of human and veterinary national medicines agencies and other national regulatory agencies that deal with medicinal products crime.
The WGEO has created a network of single points of contact (SPOCs) within its membership which acts as a rapid alert system (RAS) for exchanging confidential information on falsified and stolen medicinal products.
The working group meets twice a year.