Interesting facts that one stumbles upon at conferences. The first being that the ousted ethnic-Russian Prime Minister of the Ukraine was reportedly running a bootleg cigarette factory, ripping-off Philip Morris and Marlborough, to fund his politics, in the election he lost during the 'Orange' revolution. Allegedly, when the two big brands had the US government put pressure on him to close it down, he simply switched to another popular brand of cigarette instead.
I vaguely recall hearing a few years ago that we had a more modest version, a cheap cigarette distribution outlet on the Pyson's road industrial estate.
As for counterfeit drugs, we are in an awful state and these are now leaking rapidly into the European mainstream. Some of these are actually deadly to ingest, with one group of Columbian criminals using the lead based yellow paint that is used for double yellow lines on roads, to colour tablets yellow.
Container-loads of fake prescription drugs go from Russia and Asia, through Europe, out to the Caribbean and then back again in smaller loads to give them provenance, they are then sold on internet sites.
There a very high chance that any drug you receive or buy from a pharmacy outside Europe and in particular, the Middle-East, Africa and Asia, is a fake, so be warned!
I could go on but I'm so depressed by the facts and figures I've heard today from Novartis, Electronic Arts, Gucci, eBay, Philip Morris and others that I have to wonder how anyone at the periphery of this trade can remain honest when the opportunities for even moderately clever criminals run into the hundreds of billions on a global basis.