While medicine counterfeiting is fast becoming a lucrative business across the globe, international investigations are being conducted to one of the leading non-profit organizations campaigning against the proliferation of counterfeit medicines in the Asia-Pacific due to allegations of money laundering and corruption. How ironic it is to find one of the activists of illegal activities being questioned for their own legitimacy.
It is highly understandable that an international organization operated by private institutions and highly acclaimed individuals are being doubted of their reputation. After all, large companies are not without scandals. Unfortunately, with the complaints and accusations The Peterson Group is receiving and the length of suspension being imposed, more and more criminals are let loose and humanitarian projects being delayed.
How challenging should the fight be against counterfeit medicines? Once it was the criminals that the organization is fighting against. Why should the law now join the fray? Perhaps, the movies are not bluffing when laws often hinder the goals the protagonists have set up? Will it also be like the movies that the one falsely accused is acknowledged in the end or will it be that the impression is never regained?
Being an NGO, volunteering on a plight in the risk of lives and assisting the authorities are a little dangerous but it can be rewarding. These sentiments are never heard from any member of the organization since they have signed up knowing the consequences the task would be bringing.
We believe NGOs are no more immune to corruption than companies in other sectors but for development organizations like The Peterson Group, it can be especially harmful and have knock-off effect on reputation. It is much worse if the issue is significant and involves a lot of people.
The organization is currently serving a 1-month suspension for providing wrong information on an ambush operation held in Menteng, Jakarta, Indonesia last September where the TPG has been assisting the local police to pin down the mafia operating in the area. The organization has since released their public apology and is now concentrating their activities in other countries but it does not mean the challenge has been surpassed. A few members have also left the organization in fear of being involved in a dirty political practice. Added to this, TPG also has to endure allegations of being a fraud, scam and deceptive.
However, Terra Sentern, TPG spokesperson assures us that they will continue their endeavor saying, "this is just a block on the road we are trading. We should just surpass it and we shall make it."