Pharmaceutical piracy is the manufacture and production of drugs with little or no medical value, and commercializing them. The marketers sell them as better known brands and expensive drugs. This practice is not only harmful to patients but also violates the intellectual property laws that govern the sale of drugs in the country. The chemicals could have adverse effects on the patients who consume them innocently, and the individuals selling the drugs lose the trust of their clientele. The areas mostly affected by this manufacture, trade and sale are Russia, Africa and China. The aim of this research is to uncover the counterfeit market in Russia, understand their role in the manufacture of these drugs and stipulate some of the theories that might explain this piracy business in the country.
Irrespective of the presence of pirates in the pharmaceutical market in Russia, it is a successful commercial business. It is one of the most successful sectors since the emergence of the country from USSR. The failure of the country’s 5 year plan, which was an attempt to transform the country, their healthcare was underinvested and remains the same over five decades later. Polls and other consumable healthcare products were always in short supply. Anesthesia was only available only to those individuals who had party connections such as the WHO. After the 1991 reforms to ensure that all the citizens had a better healthcare system and there was an increase in their livelihood, more than 300 private and public health institutions sprung up.
Following pressure from these healthcare facilities for the supply of pills and other medicine, pharmaceutical firms began to produce other drugs for use by new patients. These reforms failed, and the patients never materialized. Investors looked for customers outside of Russia to purchase the excess supply. Russia is one of the largest supplier of pharmaceuticals in the world. Following export in large quantities of pills and medicine from the country, there was a large deficit, and demand rose to unimaginable levels. This is when there was introduction of criminal pharmaceuticals in the market. Substandard drugs and unapproved pills found their way into the market.
This sudden spike in demand for pharmaceutical drugs is the root cause of piracy in the sector. There are different theories advanced to explain the extreme cases of pharmaceutical piracy in Russia. One of them is Edwin’s Sutherland’s differential association theory of criminology. This is a theory that embraces a social approach to analyzing criminality. Pharmaceutical piracy in Russia is a crime that has escalated over a long time. The essence of this theory is that crime is a behavior acquired through interactions with peers and families. There is a notion that if one individual uses piracy to gain access to one industry, this is a behavior acquired through time.
The aspect of the association theory is that delinquency in learned behavior. Crime lays its focus on the individual, and has different aspects such as biological traits, personalities or the notion of a born criminal. There are outside factors that affect human behavior, crime being one of them. This is one of the most influential theories used to explain the problem that is pharmaceutical piracy in Russia. This is one of the countries with the highest rates of pharmaceutical piracy in the world. This theory can explain the high prevalence of the piracy rates through the explanation that crime is an acquired taste. There are other aspects of the country prone to insecurities and criminal behavior.
The high number of criminals in the country can explain the increase in criminal and piracy activities in the pharmaceutical field. This is because criminal behavior trickles onto other areas of the society, and forces some individuals to acquire criminal tendencies. These tendencies increase the prevalence of pharmaceutical piracy in the country.
Through interaction with others, individuals will learn attributes, values techniques and motives of criminal behavior. Individuals, with time, learn how to become criminals. The pharmaceutical field is no prone to these occurrences. Piracy in the medical field may be rampant and the returns large for the criminals. This causes some individuals to learn new criminal behaviors and treats with which to use in the development of their schemes towards piracy. Although the theory hypothesizes the manner through which these individuals acquire criminal traits, it does not clearly give a reason why they turn into crime. This is a theory considered a positivist approach due to its focus on acts rather than the motives of the criminals towards what they do.
This theory rationalizes the manner with which individuals learn how to interact with crime, their motives, rationalizations, attitudes towards the heinous crimes they commit, the implications of this theory is that it grows socially easier for an individual to commit crime in the society, especially when all the factors work together to ensure that they acquire all the skills towards criminology. Cultural transmission and construction are some of the motives behind the actions and crimes such as pharmaceutical thefts and piracy schemes. Since a person’s self-image is being reconstructed from their interactions with other people, there is a possibility of individuals to succumb to social pressure and act like their counterparts in the society. Interactions with other individuals who engage in illegal activities has negative effects of an individual because these characters rub off on them.
Sutherland purports that criminal behavior is learned in the interactions of different people through communication. The most effective transformations happen between people of close social interactions and groups. Learning of criminal behavior involves techniques of committing crime and attitudes towards crime. Differential associations between individuals may vary in frequency, priority, duration and intensity.
Another theory advanced to explain the prevalence of the pharmaceutical piracy in the country is Cesare Baccaria’s classical school. he notes that man is a calculating individual. Before embarking on a venture, he has to orchestrate a plan and an execution route. He also has to determine whether the rewards are worth the risks involved. In the case of the Russian pirates, they saw a niche in the market that was not tapped, and had the idea to involve themselves in the activity of selling these drugs. Their motives might not have been pure, but they calculated and saw the expected returns that the venture would supposedly bring to them. The classical thought is based on the idea that man is a rational being, and that all individuals exercise free will in executing and making their decisions. Punishment is a deterrent for crime, so if the punishment is proportional to the crime and carried out promptly, individuals will not engage in it.
The classical school of thought indicates that for any crime, there is a proportional punishment available to the purports of the crime, and the punishment they receive will be proportional to the crime committed. Piracy is one of the biggest crimes plaguing the pharmaceutical market in Russia at the moment. A punishment that fits the crime will deter individuals from proceeding with their criminal act will deter the criminals from producing counterfeit drugs for commercial use. However, there is no punishment severe enough that has been effective in causing the pirates to cease production of the counterfeit drugs.
According to Beccaria Cesare, it was possible to reduce the occurrences of criminal actions through the use of the basics of human nature. This is a basic idea that operates on the assumption that human beings are derived by their own self interests. Rational people enter into a contract that socially obligates them to have a peaceful society that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. He sought to enlighten the society by teaching them that it was possible to reduce crime through a punishment system that called for reforms in the country. This was directed towards the criminals who sought to cause chaos in the society. The punishment has to be effective without being severe. Only a punishment that served the purpose of deterrence without severity surely served the purpose of reforming the wrong doers.
Cesare noted that the most effective deterrence to criminals was acting swift rather than putting the criminals through an unnecessarily long trial. Criminal actions were part of an irrational behavior that found their origin in the individuals who did not have the best interests of the society in their minds. For punishment to be effective there was need for consistency for all those found guilty of criminal actions. The ideologies and notion behind swift punishment was that criminals would tend to act in the best interests of the society if they were aware of the punishment they would receive, and the swiftness of the punishment. However, the classical school of thought noted that, rather than punishing crime, it was important to prevent it and avoid all the losses that would occur along the way. According to this school, authorities in Russia ought to find a punishment that will deter criminal. Alternatively, they have to find a means of preventing counterfeit drugs from entering the market and harming all the innocent patients.