The genuine danger of Counterfeit Medicines



a worker in this grubby South American Shack is busy producing fake aspirin and pain relief tablets made from boric acid more usually known as an antiseptic or insecticide counterfeiting drugs is a fast-growing highly profitable business not just in the developing world 500,000 fake medicines were seized by EU customs in 2005 last year that number had shot up to more than four million the World Health Organization says more than half the pharmaceuticals sewed on the Internet or fake the UK is a major distribution point for counterfeit medicines often manufactured in India or China this is all seized property in this evidence store it all comes from raids that have been carried out by MHRA officers all this is canister with dog vitamins when you open up bills can't be blacker inside there in our experience counterfeiters are always gonna go for the high priced high turnover high demand products they watch the markets like a hawk Jim Thompson campaigns on behalf of patients in Europe in his own survey he sent off for more than 30 medicines from internet pharmacies almost two thirds proved to be either substandard or counterfeit the results left little doubt that people's lives are being put at risk some have the active ingredient active pharmaceutical ingredient gave behind some dough so you find cocktails of different ingredients in these brick dust led-based Road paint so in this this is arriving and it's killing people and the counterfeits are not just being sold on the Internet customs officers at Belgium Zaventem Airport intercepted a huge haul of fake antibiotics from Dubai which it's feared may have found their way into high street pharmacies Eli Lilly has seen a europe-wide recall of a batch of its antipsychotic medicine zyprexa when a sharp-eyed wholesaler spotted a couple of tiny printing errors on the packaging you can see from from a visual perspective it's almost impossible to tell which ones counterfeit and which ones genuine the quality of the packaging is is remarkable really on the counterfeit so how to beat the counterfeiters the theme of a recent conference at the European Commission in Brussels the Commission is preparing new legislation on medicines counterfeiting but Commissioner McCreevy also believes there could be better enforcement of existing laws I've tried to do in my reservations to member states is to emphasize that n that is in their own particular interest to make sure that they are not being used as a an area where counterfeit or pirated goods are being distributed from and I would accept that not all never see treaties issue as seriously as some other member states in the meantime attempts by the pharmaceutical companies to introduce anti-counterfeiting measures are hampered by the way medicines are traded because prices vary around Europe it's perfectly legal for medicines to be bought by a wholesaler in one country and to make a profit by selling on to a higher-priced country to do this pills need to be repackaged with patient information in their own language the French pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis is playing an active role in an industry-wide track and trace coding system the aim is to have one harmonized code for Europe so that pharmacists can authenticate a product but for this system to work the same packaging must stay in place from start to finish the key elements to fight counterfeit is to maintain the BAC integrity and we need to maintain the pack integrity of the manufacturer of products all along the supply chain and to do that we need to have an official ban on repackaging in order to be sure that the code that we the manufacturer put on the BAC will be maintained what matters is that patients feel confident that the medicine they're using comes from somewhere that looks like this and not from somewhere like this where the only active ingredient in the pills may be brick dust you

2 comments

  1. I remember several years ago watching a program on this subject, in which the reporter went undercover as the buyer of a large quantity of counterfeit meds and negotiated with a Chinese woman (whose name I used to remember… like Candy something) and that was the first I heard of this problem. But now it has become a truly huge concern.

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