On October 25, 2012, The European Institute, in cooperation with the Embassy of Belgium and the Embassy of Switzerland held a special seminar on transatlantic cooperation in stemming the spread of falsified medications.  Mark Witzal, Deputy Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations presented the keynote address.  Panelists in the first session: Bernard Frahi, Vice President for Corporate Economic Security at Sanofi; Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich, Deputy Director at the Terrorism, Transnational Crime & Corruption Center and Adjunct Professor at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy; and Jeffrey Gren, Director of the Office of Health and Consumer Goods at the U.S. Department of Commerce discussed the security, economic and public health risks of falsified medications.  The panel was moderated by Susan Reardon, Director of International Policy, Worldwide Government Affairs and Policy at Johnson & Johnson.  Panelists in the second session: John Roth, Director of the Office of Criminal Investigations at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Patrick Byrne, Europol Senior Representative and Head of Europol Delegation at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States; Chief Commissioner Patrick Stevens, Counselor and Belgian Police Liaison Officer at the Embassy of Belgium; Kelley Friedgen, Senior Corporate Counsel at Genentech and Legal Advisor to the Genentech Counterfeit Prevention and Response Task Force; and Jeannie Salo, Director for Global Anti-Counterfeiting, Office of International Government Affairs at Eli Lilly and Company examined public and private sector solutions to the fast-growing falsified medications problem.  This panel was moderated by Frédéric Badey, Senior Director, International Public Affairs Coordination, Sanofi.

On June 27th, The European Institute welcomed back The Honorable John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy to discuss the impending EU proposals for ensuring product safety and strengthening market surveillance. Mr. Dalli also elaborated on the EU’s efforts to bolster supply chain security for food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other consumer products, as well as the prospects for further cooperation in ensuring the safety and security of goods in the transatlantic marketplace. Francine Lamoriello, Executive Vice President for Global Strategies for the Personal Care Products Council, moderated the discussion.

Click here to read Commissioner Dalli's remarks.

Recent outbreaks in food-borne illness in both Europe and the U.S. – such as the E.coli episode this summer in Germany (that affected some transatlantic travellers) and the U.S. scare and recall involving salmonella-infected ground turkey meat – have underscored the need for better protection and inspection of foodstuffs and other agricultural products.

But efforts to tackle the issue are encountering problems on both sides of the Atlantic. In particular, funding problems have beset Congressional-mandated reforms in the U.S.

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The E.coli epidemic in Germany has scared people across Europe: more than 30 are dead (more than in the nuclear accident in Japan) and up to 3,000 people are sick; restaurants have posted signs explaining that they are not serving vegetables (even tomatoes in sandwiches); consumers are frightened about eating fresh vegetables, even from organic growers; farmers and businesses have lost crops worth of hundreds of millions of euros and the health authorities face a mystery that they have been slow to solve.

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During a recent trip to Albania, it was striking to notice the number or of Kosovars spending their summer holidays on the Ionian Sea stretch of the Adriatic coast. Many of these tourists were predictably drawn by the beautiful beaches, scenery and pleasant weather but, perhaps unconsciously, they were also celebrating the emergence of their landlocked homeland, Kosovo, as an independent nation enjoying growing world acceptance. It got a boost from the July ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate international law. See recent European Affairs blogpost. This unambiguous statement at the core of the court’s finding went further, in Kosovo’s direction, than many observers had anticipated. Even so, in its quest for legitimacy and viability, Kosovo still faces formidable obstacles ranging from the need for recognition by more states to the challenge of making a peace with Serbia -- and domestically, the requirement of tackling widespread corruption.

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