Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Panic: Beware of Counterfeit Anti-Viral Medications

By: Alan Clock, Senior Vice President, XStream Systems, Inc.

As the world prepares to do battle with the emerging pandemic of Swine Flu, it bears discussing the potential for unscrupulous entities or individuals preying on and taking advantage of the panic for their personal gain.

The global marketplace, already in a deep economic recession is seeing an unprecedented rise in the percentage of counterfeit medications. These counterfeits run the gambit from fake HIV and malarial drugs in Africa and Asia to phony ED and cholesterol drugs in North America and Europe. Even in developed countries, with sophisticated supply chains like the United Kingdom, the statistics are troubling; one in four doctors have already treated patients suffering from the effects of counterfeit medications and their current estimate of percentage of counterfeit medications within the supply chain stands at 10%.

As industry leaders know, when a healthcare panic occurs, supplies of the drugs used to treat the issue become scarce and expensive. Unfortunately drug counterfeiters know that as well.

It does not take long to remember how quickly Cipro became scarce and very expensive during the anthrax scare of 2001.

According to most published reports, basic anti-viral medications seem to work against this particular flu strain for those that are already infected. The proper use of these medications will go a long way in containing and defeating this particular dangerous strain of flu. The brand names of these life saving medications include; Tamiflu, Relenza, Symmetrel and Flumadine.

Realize that the drug counterfeiters of the 21st Century are already producing counterfeit medications. Unfortunately they also have the most efficient and effective way to introduce their fake wares to the consumer at their disposal, the internet. Not only can they create visual facsimiles of the product that they are copying but they can also anonymously sell around the globe without leaving home. Through the internet they can have their fake product shipped to their victim’s doorstep by legitimate means. The counterfeiter also has the luxury of having the money extracted from their victims credit card's into disguised bank accounts. It is very difficult to heed the warning, buyer beware, when can be conned with only a few self-inflicted keystrokes and mouse clicks.

Please heed this important warning: because of the Swine Flu Epidemic anti-viral drugs will become scarce, they will be counterfeited and people will die because they consume these fake drugs.

As a consumer the best way to protect yourself is:
  • Only purchase these drugs from a brick and mortar, state approved pharmacy.
  • Make sure that you speak with a licensed pharmacist that knows your medical history.

Never buy pharmaceuticals from an internet site that is not affiliated with a state licensed pharmacy and that does not require a physician’s prescription.

If you are a supplier or provider within the pharmaceutical supply chain, XStream recommends:>

  • You verify and authenticate your anti-viral medications and inventories through its transactional pedigree.
  • You verify and authenticate your anti-viral medications and inventories through material authentication.
  • By no means should you accept receivables into your inventories from unknown sources.
  • You should not accept return goods products on these specific medications.
  • Providers should realize that they are the only barrier to these fake drugs and the consumer, they should remain their professional integrity and diligence.

    The best advice for all involved during this scare is for both the consumer and the suppliers to use common sense and understand the dangers that lurk from the panic can come from other sources outside of the actual disease.

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