Tag Archives: Counterfeit Drugs

Safe Prescription Drug Reimportation: An Oxymoron

Every couple of years it seems that someone introduces a bill into the U.S. Congress that would one way or another legalize the reimportation of prescription drugs into the U.S. from other countries.  In December of 2009, right around the time that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was being debated intensely Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) introduced a bill to do just that.

You may recall that there was a dustup about how Senator Barack Obama had introduced a similar bill only a few years before that, but now as President, he made a deal with the drug industry that supposedly assured that drug reimportation wouldn’t be added to the Healthcare Reform bill in exchange for the industry supporting the Reform bill.  Senator Dorgan’s bill did not pass but Healthcare Reform did (See Dr. Adam Fein’s coverage of the failure of Senator Dorgan’s bill, “Drug Importation: Dead Again”).

The reason I’m thinking about reimportation this week is that I came across an interesting document that was published last week by the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) called “A Risky Proposition:  How Opening The U.S. To Foreign Medicines Poses A Risk To Chronically Ill Americans”, a second edition.  I’m not sure why it was released now—maybe someone is thinking about introducing another reimportation bill again (I guess it’s not Senator Dorgan anyway!)—but I have an opinion about the topic Continue reading Safe Prescription Drug Reimportation: An Oxymoron

Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting, A First-Rate New Resource

Earlier this summer J. Wiley & Sons published a new book called “Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting, Combating the Real Danger from Fake Drugs” by Mark Davison, CEO of Blue Sphere Health, a pharmaceutical consultancy.  I pre-ordered it on Amazon.com in the spring and it was finally delivered in July.  You may have noticed the image and link I added to the left margin under “RxTrace Recommends” shortly after I started reading it.  The hardbound book is 400 pages, including the main text, notes, references, glossary and index, but it took me until now to finish reading it.  I’ve been so busy lately that I could only read a few pages at a time, that is until my vacation when I finally had time to sit down and read the whole book.

The book is broken up into five parts.  Part 1, General Themes, provides an in-depth examination of the problem of drug counterfeiting around the world including its formal definition, the origins, costs, risks, and the contrast (and controversy) between intellectual property and anti-counterfeiting.  In the last chapter of Part 1, Davison explains the difference between “Traceability” and “Authentication”.  He points out that the term “Traceability” is sometimes known as “digital authentication”, where the term “Authentication” by itself is usually used to Continue reading Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting, A First-Rate New Resource

Discounts For PSM Interchange 2011 End Next Week

The Partnership for Safe Medicines has announced that discounted registration to their Interchange 2011 meeting will end on September 15th.  That’s next Thursday.  So if you were thinking about attending, make your decision now and register through this link before the end of next Thursday.  After that the fees will increase.

If you are not familiar with the PSM organization or their Interchange gathering I suggest that Continue reading Discounts For PSM Interchange 2011 End Next Week

Illegitimate Drugs In The U.S. Supply Chain: Needle In A Haystack

West-African countries have been under attack by drug counterfeiting criminals for decades with little resistance until the last one.  The result, in 2002 Mohammed Yaro Budah, then president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, estimated that 70% of the drugs in Nigeria were fake or substandard.  That’s an incredible figure, but starting around that time the Nigerian National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) under the direction of Professor Dora Akunyili began fighting back.

Initially they focused on inspecting drug imports at the Nigerian ports and airports and they were able to bring the percentage of fake or substandard drugs to come down considerably.  More recently they have begun employing a number of Raman Spectroscopy-based devices called TruScan (recently acquired by Thermo Scientific) to inspect drugs and anti-viral medicines being sold in pharmacies during “unscheduled” visits.

Even more recently, a number of pharma manufacturers have begun to add low cost scratch-off stickers to the drugs sold in Nigeria that cover a random number that can be scratched off and checked for authenticity by patients and healthcare professionals using SMS text message-based technology from Sproxil.  The service was launched in 2010 on a single product but that number is growing quickly as a number of large U.S.-based drug companies add the scratch-off stickers to their productsThe service is sponsored by NAFDAC.


That is, would these technologies help to reduce the number of illegitimate drugs in the U.S. supply chain? I believe that the answer is Continue reading Illegitimate Drugs In The U.S. Supply Chain: Needle In A Haystack

Partnership For Safe Medicines Interchange 2010

Last Friday I attended the first annual Partnership For Safe Medicines (PSM)Interchange 2010 event.  PSM is a coalition of organizations that are committed to the safety of prescription drugs and protecting consumers against unapproved, counterfeit, substandard, mishandled or otherwise unsafe medicines.  PSM was started a few years ago to help educate healthcare professionals and the public about the dangers of counterfeit and other illegitimate drugs.  It is based in Vienna, VA but focuses on the problem globally.  The membership is made up of professional organizations from industry, universities and government.

PSM is led by a distinguished panel of leaders and directors.  The leaders are Continue reading Partnership For Safe Medicines Interchange 2010

Stop Claiming that 10% of Drugs Worldwide are Counterfeit

There was a flurry of discussion last week over a recent Wall Street Journal blog by their “Numbers Guy”, Carl Bialik, regarding the often quoted “estimate” that 10% of drugs worldwide are counterfeit. On September 10, Bialik posted an essay titled, “Dubious Origins for Drugs, and Stats About Them“. The next day he published an article on the topic called “Counterfeit Drug Count Is Tough to Swallow“.  Both essays call into question the origins and the accuracy of the “estimate”.  On September 13, Dr. Adam Fein posted an essay titled, “The Counterfeit Counterfeit Drug Count” on his DrugChannels blog, citing the WSJ essays and providing some additional insight.

Don’t miss the many comments left by readers of Bialik and Fein’s postings.  It’s surprising how Continue reading Stop Claiming that 10% of Drugs Worldwide are Counterfeit