Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Western Europeans Spend $14.3B on Illicitly Sourced Meds

Ben Hirschler from Reuters reported on Monday that according to a Pfizer sponsored survey, Western Europeans spend an estimated $14.3 billion a year on illicitly sourced medicines, many of them counterfeit.

Some of the highlights from Hirschler’s report include:

  • Germans and Italians buy the most prescription-only drugs without a prescription, either over the Internet or on overseas trips, in nightclubs, in shops and via friends.

  • Counterfeit medicines often contain the wrong or even toxic ingredients and are a growing health threat worldwide, especially in poor countries, according to the World Health Organization.

  • Outgoing European Union industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen said in December he was "extremely worried" about counterfeit medicines after 34 million fake tablets were seized at EU custom points in just two months.

  • Jim Thomson, chairman of the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines, which receives funding from the drug industry, said tests by his group had shown that 62 percent of medicines purchased online were fake or substandard.

  • Overall, 21 percent of 14,000 people surveyed in 14 states said they had bought medicines illicitly, with the rate ranging from 38 and 37 percent in Germany and Italy, respectively, to 12 and 10 percent in Britain and the Netherlands.

  • Weight-loss medicines accounted for nearly half of all online purchases, followed by prescription treatments for flu, such as Roche's Tamiflu; pills for erectile dysfunction; quit-smoking drugs; and painkillers.

This issue of counterfeit, fraudulent and adulterated medications, which is causing a deadly healthcare crisis around the globe, energizes the need for material screening of products within the supply chain, from raw materials to dispensing, to properly protect consumers everywhere.

To read the entire Reuters story, visit: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE61E16A20100216.

To learn more about medication counterfeit solutions, visit: http://www.xstreamsystems.net/.

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