Did you know that more than 10% of all medicines in circulation may be fake? For criminal networks, the counterfeit drug trade serves as the next frontier in high- profit margin, low-penalty crime. As this troubling trend picks up and puts patients around the world at risk, we need more creative strategies to stop the spread of fake medicines. Luckily, organizations around the world have been working hard to put together measures that fight this growing problem. Here’s our list of 4 ways we can work to secure our supply chains and improve patient safety:
Encouraging Global Collaboration
Counterfeit medications cross borders and oceans. This means solutions should, as well. Great examples of progress in this area include the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) global campaign on counterfeit goods and INTERPOL’s partnership with 29 of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies – including Lilly—to enhance the private sector’s ability to combat drug counterfeiting.
Informing the Public
Public awareness alone can’t stop the spread of fake medicines, but it can serve as another critical line of defense. That’s why the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) launched the Fight the Fakes campaign. Two campaign partners, the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), launched a billboard in Times Square, New York, warning passersby of the dangers of purchasing medicines from unknown online sources.
Public policy matters, especially when it comes to ensuring that people have access to the safe and effective medicines they need. Dr. Kristina M. Lybecker has been commissioned by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to research the extent of the fake medicine problem. As part of her research, Dr. Lybecker will explore the economic and health consequences of counterfeit drugs and policy recommendations for curbing counterfeiting in developing countries.
Identifying Safe Medicines
Along with the external recommendations above, industry has taken steps to help ensure that their medicines reach the people who need them. Companies like ours have begun to implement technologies aimed at helping to secure the supply chain like track and trace systems. These technologies could become a powerful tool in fighting counterfeit medicines, especially across borders.
To learn more about counterfeit medicines, check out our issue page and follow us on Twitter @LillyPad.