Saturday, January 1, 2011

Will 2011 Be The Year of the Anti-Counterfeiter?

Several positive signs, point to the new year of 2011 becoming the tipping point in the battle against the deadly scourge of counterfeit drugs?

Even though in recent year's it would appear that there have been few significant victories in the war against fake drugs, there are hopeful signs that in the new year there will be a significant tipping point or sea change in this important crusade...

  • Governments, law enforcement and regulatory agencies in developed countries are now publicly taking action and proactive steps in stemming the onslaught of the criminal enterprises engaged in counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The actions by the authorities in the developed world are also aiding officials in underdeveloped nations in their efforts. New laws, with well thought out legal direction and meaningful penalties shrink the criminals return and make them more vulnerable.

  • The mainstream media outlets are finally recognizing the issue and are now routinely reporting on and informing consumers that this deadly problem impacts the health and well being of people all around the globe. In year's past it was rare to find a story about drug counterfeiting coming from a major media outlet, now it is rare not to have the issue, its enforcement and the consequences not reported on by a major news organization.

  • Because of the media attention, consumers are now understanding the scope of the threat and there is evidence that they are using their buying power to encourage the supply chain to take action.

  • The pharmaceutical supply chain is becoming more proactive in their recognition of the problem. In the past they have routinely passed the responsibility of adulterated, fraudulent, sub-standard and counterfeit drugs to others in the supply chain not realizing the costs and liability that ultimately gets spread out to all. Not so long ago the status quo and "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" was the standard response from industry leaders when the issue of bogus drugs was mentioned. In 2010, there was a collective awakening from manufacturers, distributors and dispensers that hopefully will evolve into a full blown revolution of action.

  • Technologies and solutions are coming into into the market that give the supply chain the tools they need to both attack and defend their inventories from the introduction of these dangerous fakes. As these technologies are deployed, the drug counterfeiter will be disadvantaged in introducing his bogus wares onto the consumer.
These are all positive signs but clearly individually or collectively they do not mean that the issue of counterfeit medications will not continue to grow and proliferate or that millions around the globe will not die or have their health negatively impacted.

What these signs do mean collectively is that the meaningful pieces of the overall solution of the global epidemic of counterfeit drugs are finally coming together so that true progress can finally begin in earnest.

Cheers to 2011!
Alan Clock, Senior Vice President, XStream Systems

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