Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Part 2: Who is liable when a counterfeit or adulterated medication gets to the consumer?

Liability Opinion Series (2 of 4)
by Alan Clock, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
XStream Systems, Inc.

(continued from yesterday)...
If you talk to a wholesaler or a distributor, they tell us they only buy or source product directly from the manufacturer. When applicable because of a state law, then they receive a pedigree. Many feel this protects their inventories and in turn protects them from liability if a product ultimately is found to be adulterated or counterfeited after it winds its way to the consumer. Usually wholesalers and distributors don’t publicly discuss the huge gap of returns and globally sourced products that leave their inventories wide open to a variety of sources beyond their control.

The dispensers, the final piece of the supply chain, tell us that they buy only from the wholesaler or manufacturer and they have contracts with these entities. To dispensers, this means the products from their sources are safe, secure and can be given to patients without worry. It would be naive for anyone that has experience in this industry to think that by the time product is received at the store level, that it is still pristine; especially given the probability that the product could have been touched by nearly a dozen different delivery agents, distributors, couriers or pharmacies by the time it gets to the dispensing location from the manufacturer.

Maybe it’s not so much of a game of “hot potato” but a case of “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”. Meaning that until critical members of the pharmaceutical supply chain have an effective solution or set of tools beyond RFID, bar codes and pedigree to combat issues proactively, they feel like they have to pass the buck or ignore the problem.

Tomorrow I'll address the discussion on pharmaceutical liability at the "SecurePharma 2008" show I attended last week...

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