Sunday, October 24, 2010

Securing Pharma: Cambodian Study Finds Only 3% of Medicines are Counterfeit

Low figure compares to historical estimates of 4% to 90% in studies reported since 2000, according to the researchers.

Phil Taylor in an October 22nd post in Securing Pharma writes a blog about a recent study by Japanese researchers that shows a low percentage of counterfeits as it relates to past studies.

This research is significant because at face value the study paints a very different, more positive picture of the Cambodian pharmaceutical supply chain from previous studies which may lead to a false sense of the totality of the problem.

Highlights from the Securing Pharma post include:

• The results of a medicine sampling study in Cambodia reveals that just 3% of products were counterfeit, although between 5 and 9 % failed HPLC or dissolution-based quality testing.

That relatively low figure compares to historical estimates of 4% to 90% in studies reported since 2000, according to the researchers, who were from Kanazawa and Nagasaki Universities in Japan and Cambodia's National Health Product Quality Control Center.

• A total of 710 samples of a wide range of commonly-used medicines were collected by the researchers in three tranches (in 2006, 2007 and 2008) at pharmacies and other forms of retail outlet in both rural and urban areas.

A little over half (55%) of the samples collected had their packaging intact, but in 45% of cases it was open. Counterfeits were 20 times more likely to be encountered among open containers than closed one, were more likely to fail quality testing and were encountered more often in rural outlets, according to the researchers.

Four of the counterfeits were labeled as originating from China, six were from India, two were from Malaysia and there was one each from Hong Kong, Cambodia and the UK.

Clearly the outcome of this research needs to be followed up given the apparent disparity between the results of this testing and what has been found in the past.

After one looks at the data however it would appear that although 3% were found to be specifically counterfeit there was a significant amount of issues with up to 9% of the sampling as to leave doubts to its efficacy. Simply put Cambodia has a huge health care issue as it relates to the safety of its pharmaceutical supply chain.

Adulterated, sub-standard, fraudulent and counterfeit drugs impact the health and safety of entire populations in developed and underdeveloped nations by poisoning the consumer, not properly treating diseases, creating drug resistant disease or at best scamming the patient out of his or her intended treatment.

Secure Pharma Chain encourages all within the pharmaceutical supply chain (regulatory agencies, manufacturers, distributors and dispensers) to use best procurement practices when purchasing their raw materials and inventories and to deploy technologies and solutions that will interdict these potentially lethal fakes from reaching the consumer.

To view Phil Taylor’s Securing Pharma article, visit:

To view the research published in Pharmaceutical Research, visit:

To learn more about pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies, visit:

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