Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who is liable when a counterfeit or adulterated medication gets to the consumer?

Liability Opinion Series (1 of 4)
by Alan Clock, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
XStream Systems, Inc.

As XStream Systems navigates throughout the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain to sell our revolutionary materials analysis solution to manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and dispensers, we continually find ourselves challenged by whomever we are speaking with. From Senior Executives to Operational Managers, the responsibility and liability for security and safety of the pharmaceuticals that they are manufacturing, distributing or dispensing always seems to be in question.

It really appears many within the pharmaceutical supply chain seem to be playing a game of “hot potato”, at least as it relates a proactive solution. Who owns the responsibility for a pharmaceutical product that is counterfeit or adulterated that makes its way to a consumer?

If you talk to a manufacturer, they absolve themselves of responsibility because from their perspective, the product that left their distribution point was shipped out pure and unadulterated. Never mind that it is THEIR brand, with whom they have likely invested billions, that takes the hit publicly because someone has tampered with the product downstream. We know that it took Tylenol many years to recover from its tampered product and cost McNeil many millions of dollars.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss the wholesaler's and distributor's point of view.

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