Thursday, July 30, 2009

Drug Counterfeiting Burden Remains a Guess, Experts Say

In the July 15 edition of AJHP News, Kate Traynor writes an excellent article regarding the proliferation of counterfeit medications and experts opinions on the solid data as to the scope of the problem.

This article highlights the difficulties in sizing and dealing with this ever growing healthcare issue. XStream Systems believes that its XT250 Materials Identification technology, which allows the user to screen and verify the contents of a medication inside its unit of sale container, will be a significant contributor to both understanding the scope and defeating counterfeit medications within the supply chain.

In this article Traynor includes quotes and statistics from government and industry experts including Ilsa Bernstein from the FDA, World Health Organization, IMPACT, Patrick Ford from Pfizer and Jeffery Gren from the Office of Health and Consumer Goods at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Several of the quotes from the article include:

  • FDA’s Ilsa Bernstein from a June 10th seminar on fake medicines, "People are always asking us for numbers of how many counterfeits are in the Unites States," said Ilisa Bernstein, director of pharmacy affairs in FDA's Office of the Commissioner. "We have no idea what the prevalence of counterfeiting is in the United States."

  • Patrick Ford, Senior Director of Global Security at Pfizer, Ford said Pfizer last year seized more than 11 million counterfeit tablets, capsules, and vials masquerading as trademarked Pfizer products, including more than 2 million units seized in the Americas. Despite the company's actions, Ford said, there likely remain "a lot of patients that took these products and didn't even know that they were counterfeit."

  • Jeffrey Gren, Director of the Office of Health and Consumer Goods at the U.S. Department of Commerce, said “The profit levels in counterfeiting are enormous and much greater than narcotics, and...The penalties are significantly less," Gren said. In addition, he said, the Internet has provided "an easy and lucrative way" for counterfeiters to distribute their products. Gren said that although some counterfeiters run fly-by-night operations, others have sophisticated factories capable of making medications that are difficult to visually distinguish from legitimate products.

To read the article in its entirety connect to the link below:

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