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European and US associations call for continued vigilance against the threat of counterfeit medicines.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies (EAEPC), the European Association of Pharmaceutical Full-line Wholesalers (GIRP), the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU), and the European Generic Medicines Association (EGA) issued statements last week in line with World Anti-Counterfeiting Day to address the problem of counterfeit medicines and their associations’ efforts in addressing the problem.
“Make no mistake, the counterfeit medicine epidemic is a very real threat that puts millions of patients’ lives at risk,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani in a June 7, 2012 PhRMA
. “Fortunately, in the US, our lines of defense are strong because the closed and carefully regulated drug-supply system represents an important protection for the American public against the massive influx of foreign counterfeit medicines.”
Castellani pointed to the use of the Internet as a channel to sell counterfeit drugs. He also pointed to proposed US legislation that seeks to address the problem of counterfeit medicines. Two bills currently in the US House of Representatives are the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act, which increases sentencing guidelines for criminals convicted of selling counterfeit medicine, and the Safe Doses Act, which prohibits theft of preretail medical products and makes this an aggravated offense for those employed in the supply chain.
Also, last week, EFPIA, EAEPC, GIRP, and PGEU announced progress on their European medicines verification project that is intended to prevent falsified medicines from entering the European supply chain, in a joint June 7, 2012, press release. Further progress and next steps regarding the proposed European Stakeholder Model will be explained at a public information session on June 27, 2012 at the EFPIA Annual Meeting in Brussels.
EGA also outlined its involvement in anticounterfeiting initiatives in a June 7, 2012, EGA release. The association participates in initiatives such as the EC Observatory of Piracy and Counterfeiting. EGA stressed that rather than the legal supply chain being exceptionally at-risk for counterfeiting, criminal activities and illegal sales over the internet are the loopholes in Europe’s drug-supply system. “There are no reports of counterfeit generic medicines in the EU at all and especially not in the legal supply chain,” said EGA Director General Greg Perry in the EGA release. “Generic medicines should even be considered as preventing the falsification of medicines as they trigger competition, resulting in lower prices, and fragmenting the market into multisource volumes, which are unattractive for counterfeiters.”