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Das Projekt ALPHA wird unterstützt vom Zentrum für Europäische und Internationale Strafrechtsstudien (ZEIS) und vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Press review to final ALPhA-Conference 

Subsequently you can see the press reviews of the final ALPhA-Conference which took place in Osnabrück on the 20th and 21st of June 2016 (Unfortunately only in german):

Pharmazeutische Zeitung
Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung
Focus Online
Osnabrücker Radio

Articles prior to the Conference:


July, 17th 2016



International Conference on Pharmaceutical Crime on the 20th and 21st of June 2016 in Osnabrück

The research project “Auswirkungen der Liberalisierung des Internethandels in Europa auf den Phänomenbereich der Arzneimittelkriminalität” (ALPhA, English: effects of the liberalization of the Internet trade in Europe on the phenomenon of pharmaceutical crime) was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for two years to the value of 1.7million euro. The results were made public at an international conference on pharmaceutical crime 20-21 June 2016. More than 100 participants from all over Europe and beyond gathered in the castle of Osnabrück University to discuss the findings and the future aspects of countering pharmaceutical crime, including delegates from Interpol, Europol, the Council of Europe, the EU Commission, German Customs and Federal Police, as well as patient safety and pharmacy organisations and the German Ministry of Justice inter alia. The opening address was given by Jürgen Storbeck, retired Director of Europol.

The ALPhA-project focuses on the illegal trade of falsified medicinal products via the Internet. Organised criminals have entered in to the growing legal market of trading all types of medicinal products at a distance in particular prescription-only medicines. The high profit margins and the low risk of detection in combination with limited penalties of prosecution have accelerated criminal activity in this lucrative area of crime. It is now regarded as even more attractive than the trade in narcotics. Pharmaceuticals are therefore becoming the new cocaine.

The health risks for consumers are considerable. They are rarely able to distinguish legal from illegal online distribution channels and many criminals have started to offer their products via Internet shops that pretend to be legitimate pharmacies. With website platforms that are similar or identical to legitimate ones, the consumer is unwittingly placed in danger as the medicinal products offered may contain too little, too much or no active ingredient at all and many have been known to contain harmful substances. It is not only life-style medicinal products that are advertised online but all types of medicines. In the yearly crack down on criminal networks co-ordinated by Interpol up to 63 different medicines have been seized at customs. To camouflage their true identity and rank illegal offers of medicinal products high on search engine results, hackers are placing them within the domains of legitimate websites.

The research project ALPhA followed a holistic approach to analyse pharmaceutical crime in the digital age. Its findings were presented at this international conference. The surveys which were conducted with medical doctors, pharmacists and citizens were presented and helped to shed some light on the dark figure of pharmaceutical crime. In addition to the analysis of the current situation in Germany, experts from Europol and Interpol enabled the delegates to grasp the global nature of this phenomenon. This was followed by multi-disciplinary panel discussions and Q & As comprising delegates from the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the German Customs Investigation Bureau as well as pharmacist associations and the pharma industry.

Additional input was provided by regulatory agencies, not for profit patient safety organisations, other national and international research project delegates and the Council of Europe. The analysis was complemented by technical solutions for the online-prosecution of pharmaceutical crime that can be used specifically in criminal investigations.

A cornerstone of the ALPhA project findings has been the comparison of the legal landscape across 28 EU member states, with particular focus on criminal law and fines. Alternative intervention and prevention mechanisms of private and public law were also researched.

In conclusion, a comprehensive review of the legislation has been completed on how pharmaceutical crime is addressed across the EU landscape. Assessing the differing laws and deriving concrete recommendations has generated a solid basis for countering pharmaceutical crime with more effective legislation in Germany and the EU.

The ALPhA research has shown that the legal situation regarding pharmaceutical crime in Europe varies greatly from one member state to another. It also revealed different safety standards of the distribution of medicinal products via the Internet and confirmed the consumer’s lack of knowledge on how to distinguish legal from illegal online sellers of medicinal products.

Therefore, one of the key recommendations by the ALPhA group is to encourage the implementation of an EU-wide harmonisation exercise of the criminalisation of pharmaceutical crime and applicable sanctions. This should be carried out with urgency given the potential impact on patient safety.

July, 12th 2016



ALPhA invited reporting at the Office For Harmonization In The Internal Market (OHIM) - Observatory Working Group Meeting 'Enforcement' (Alicante)

The Office For Harmonization In The Internal Market (OHIM) hosted a meeting of several working groups from 1.-3. March 2016 in Alicante. The ALPhA-Project - invited to join the Observatory Working Group 'Enforcement' - was represented by Piotr Kwiatkowski and Michael Berg, presenting the architecture and aims of the ALPhA-Project as well as preliminary findings. Furthermore, IP mechanisms were assessed regarding their potential for prevention of criminal activity concerning medicinal products within the EU. The presentation and interesting discussions led to deepening contacts and agreeing on future exchange of information, especially with view to the final conference of the ALPhA-Project in June 2016.

For further information regarding the OHIM please visit:

March, 21st 2016




Prof. Dr. Arndt Sinn joins 10th conference of „Pharma Packaging“ in Berlin

The 10th conference on Pharma Packaging took place in Berlin from the 1st tot he 2nd March of 2016. The conference dealt with topics like Quality Security, Development and optimization of packaging in the pharma sector. Especially for the ALPhA-Project Track&Trace, serialisation and Counterfeiting Security were highly instructive. Prof. Dr. Arndt Sinn gave a lecture on „The influence of product security on pharmaceutical delinquency“ and introduced in this context also the ALPhA-Project. With sight to the pending final ALPhA-Conference this summer this forum was very helpful and enlightening.

For further information see here: www.packaging-pharma.de

March, 5th 2016



ALPhA at the Reconnaissance Conference "Access to safe medicines" in London.

From 19.-20.01.2016 the global Reconnaissance Conference took place in London, UK. Many international delegates, concerned with the issue of pharmaceutical safety, from science, government agencies and the private sector were present. The ALPhA project was invited to grant a new, legal perspective on the phenomenon and to point out the difficulties resulting from an incoherent legal situation within the EU. Speaking about the comparative legal analysis to that purpose, Mr. Michael Berg and Mr. Uriel Moeller represented the ALPhA Project. Existing and new ties with security research and public authorities were strengthened and/or built:  


January, 25th 2016




ALPhA meets OpenMedicine:

For further information click here:


January, 25th 2016




ALPhA meets ASOP EU in Rome

On the 15.10.2015 the ALPhA Project, represented by Mr. Uriel Moeller, participated in the meeting of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy EU (ASOP EU) in Rome. The Italian Agency for Pharmaceuticals (AIFA) received the experts from the public, private and research sector in person of Dr. Domenico Di Giorgio, Director of Product Quality and Falsification. The subject of the meeting was the new EU-Safety Logo for the trade with pharmaceuticals online. The importance, also on a European level, of the final conference of the ALPhA Project and its publication comparing the law of all 28 EU member states was again apparent. The research approach by the ALPhA Project was welcomed and an intensified cooperation established. Other meetings shall follow.

November, 5th 2015




Attendance of the customs investigation bureau as an associated partner

The compound is growing: The customs investigation bureau is an associated partner from now on and will support the research program with their experience and perceptions in the scope of persecution of pharmaceutical offences.

September, 21st 2015




Bayer AG joins the ALPhA-Project as an associated partner

Project coordinator Prof. Dr. Arndt Sinn is glad to convert the Bayer AG as an associated partner for the ALPhA-Project. The Bayer AG will support the project with their expertise and experiences in the scope of pharmaceutical criminal law.

September, 3rd 2015




7th Conference of the IQPC held in Berlin in September

The 7th conference "Pharma Track & Trace- Anti-Counterfeiting" of the International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC) is going to be held on 14th and 15th of September 2015 in Berlin. The conference concers with the serialisation and anti-counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals. Improving and developing serialisation technologies is the aim of the conference where many leading companies and institutions are attending.

For more information and especially the agenda follow here

September, 26th 2015




 "Wirtschaftswoche" deals with Pharmaceutical Crime

In the magazine "Wirtschaftswoche" an article on "pharmaceutical crime" was recently published which shows that the topic the ALPhA-Project is dealing with causes quite a stir in the press. By revealing practical cases the article precisely presents the phenomenom of pharmaceutical crime. At the same time the article describes the way illegal pharmaceuticals are distributed across the continent by criminal networks predominantly from Eastern Europe. Those businesses take advantage of the importer's and the pharmacie's ignorance, since they distribute their products to their customers credulously. Moreover, the article shows possible methods to reduce the unintentional distribution of illegal pharmaceuticals.

Follow this link for the complete article of the "Wirtschaftswoche" link

December, 8th 2014



Start of the ALPhA-Project

After a long period of preparation the ALPhA-Project started off with the "kick-off meeting" on July, 8th 2014.

Professor Dr. Arndt Sinn (project coordinator) states that only intensive cooperation and communication between the research partners and the experts from different EU Member States can guarantee the success of the project. The federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has made a substantial commitment to research on interest-based prescription drug fraud crimes. Detecting the crimes committed through the internet constitutes an enormous challenge for the law enforcement agencies. Due to the fact that illegal pharmaceuticals are distributed transnationally, the prosecution of those crimes reveals to be highly difficult. "There are huge problems considering the different legal systems in the EU, which makes effective criminal proceedings almost impossible", said Professor Dr. Arndt Sinn in an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ). The ALPhA-Project's aim (among others) is to analyse criminal law in terms of the illegal distribution of pharmaceuticals via internet. The research objectives are extremely manifold. The criminological research will have to focus especially on the behaviour patterns of the offender and the crime structures. In terms of legal dogmatics the definition of "pharmaceutical crime" needs to be specified, said Professor Dr. Arndt Sinn. The research results will contribute to the security research program of the BMBF and the safety of the population in matters of illegal pharmaceuticals.

Follow this link for the complete interview with Prof. Dr. Arndt Sinn in the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung (NOZ) link.

October, 15th 2014