Amendments to Ukraine’s Criminal Code increasing criminal penalties for the production and distribution of counterfeit medicines entered into force on November 28, 2019.

The length of the prison sentence was increased from 3-5 to 5-8 years for intentionally manufacturing, purchasing, transporting, shipping, storing for the purpose of sale, or selling counterfeit drugs.

While the previous law prescribed stricter penalties for similar actions committed repeatedly by a group of persons or on a large scale, penalties have now also been toughened for officials, medical and pharmaceutical staff found guilty of knowingly and intentionally distributing counterfeit drugs, as well as for all offenders involved in the online distribution of fake drugs. In such cases, the new law prescribes a prison sentence of 8-10 years, as well as property confiscation and deprivation of the right to hold certain posts for a period of up to 3 years. In contrast, the previous law prescribed a 5-8-year prison sentence and confiscation of property.

If counterfeit drugs lead to death or other serious consequences, the person found guilty may be imprisoned for 10-15 years or in certain cases for life, while their property may also be confiscated. The law previously prescribed imprisonment of 8-10 years or life imprisonment, along with property confiscation.