Pharmaceutical companies boosting support for Interpol's fight against fake prescription drugs

The international police agency Interpol says 29 of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies are helping it step up the battle against counterfeit prescription drugs.

The companies, from AstraZeneca to Roche, will provide €4.5 million, or nearly $5.9 million, over three years.

Interpol’s newly created Pharmaceutical Crime Program will train local law enforcement officials on investigative procedures, evidence handling and how to better work with partners outside their countries. Interpol also will help authorities target crime rings making and distributing fake drugs, which kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year.

The companies also will step up their sharing of intelligence with Interpol. The drugmakers spend millions on investigations to fight counterfeiting of their own medicines, with more fakes getting into pharmacies and hospitals even in developed countries.