In a letter published on its site the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQM) advises firms which receive an invoice from the “Directory of Certificates of Suitability” (DCEP) not to pay on the basis that it is a “fraudulent attempt to obtain money.”
In the invoice - shown here – CEP holders are asked to transfer a registration fee of €2000 ($2512) to a Deutsche Bank account of held by the DCEP.
While the DCEP states that it is an independent organisation it references the EDQM and uses a logo that - to our eyes at least - is very similar to the directorate's own insignia.
EDQM spokeswoman Caroline Larsen le Tarnec told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “We were contacted immediately by several CEP holders who received such a fraudulent invoice,” although she declined to name the companies involved.
She added that all existing CEP holders have been informed of the scam and said that: “The EDQM is currently investigating which legal measures can be taken.”
Quite what the EDQM can do about the issue is unclear given that – as stated above – the producers of the invoice make it clear that they are an independent organisation and simply request that CEP holders make the payment.
This is a difficulty that Larsen le Tarnec acknowledges.
“While it is difficult to prevent such fraudulent schemes, we have informed CEP holders with the publication of an alert on our website and have also asked relevant trade associations and partner organisations to further distribute this information.”
In-Pharmatechnologist.com also contacted Deutsche Bank for comment, however the organisation had not responded at the time of publication.