Article

A Preliminary Investigation of Pharmaceutical Counterfeiters in the United States

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Abstract

Pharmaceutical counterfeiting is one of the most pressing public health concerns in the United States and abroad, and recently an increasing amount of scholarly attention has been given to this issue. However, the extant literature lacks a systematic investigation of the specific roles undertaken within pharmaceutical counterfeiting schemes. We attempt to address this knowledge gap through an analysis of individuals convicted in federal court of counterfeiting offenses related to U.S.-based pharmaceutical counterfeiting incidents. From our investigation we identified six distinct roles that can classify an individual’s involvement in a pharmaceutical counterfeiting scheme: Key/Lead, Supporting, Sales/Distribution to Legitimate Others, Sales/Distribution to Illegitimate Others, Production, and Purchase. Through an examination of these roles and their distinct characteristics we propose several role-related crime prevention strategies. Additionally, we discuss the broader implications of our work for the study of pharmaceutical counterfeiting and identify directions for future research. [Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology]

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