Fake drugs round-up
Thursday, April 1, 2010
The latest news and comment on fake and counterfeit medicines from around the world.
In Kenya a Facebook group has been set up to help track fake drugs. The group will allow people to alert authorities to pharmacists who may have provided substandard or counterfeit medicines. An intriguing development, and we look forward to seeing whether it produces any helpful results.
Meanwhile in China, a special taskforce has been set up to tackle fake medicines. The China Post states that the cross-departmental group will report to Chang Chin-fu, government minister without portfolio.
However, the article also reveals a significant problem with the rule of law, with Chinese courts not seeing quick and positive outcomes from cases against counterfeiting. The head of the Chinese FDA said “that the ratio of successful prosecution of these illegal groups is low. He said, for example, that there were more than 100 cases of fake medicine reported in this Jan, but none were successfully prosecuted.”
Until such cases (including private actions) can be efficiently processed, government ‘clampdowns’ are unlikely to be effective. Nevertheless, the government in nearby Taiwan is also rolling out a taskforce against fake medicines.
In the Middle East, a pilot programme to attach serialised sticker to genuine drug packages is being run in Lebanon. A little like the SMS-based technologies being proposed in parts of Africa, the system will allow patients to phone a helpline and check the number on the sticker. The numbers are concealed under a scratch-panel, as with the SMS-based schemes.
And finally, for this fake drugs round-up, IMPACT recently convened at an open forum in Geneva. If you’re aware of any outcomes from this event, please get in touch!