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Counterfeit crackdown: EDQM launches fake drug database

By Gareth MacDonald+

02-Apr-2014
Last updated the 11-Apr-2014 at 11:03 GMT

Collating drug counterfeiting cases from across Europe into a central database will help law enforcement authorities catch criminals trying to flood the region with fake medicines, according to the EDQM.

The EDQM (European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines) – part of the Council of Europe – launched the Know-X database last week, explaining that it will let officials in members states know about counterfeiting cases elsewhere and foster the sharing of test data.

The idea, according to the directorate, is that a central database of closed cases against drug counterfeiters - including the 'products' involved, the analytical tests carried and the outcome of each case - will help investigators prosecute others suspected of making fake pharmaceuticals.

EDQM spokeswoman Fiona Gilchrist told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “The database is intended for officials working for a competent health, OMCL or law enforcement authority who are directly involved in the investigation and fight against counterfeit or falsified medical products and similar crimes. 

Only officials nominated by a national authority will be able to access the information she said, adding that: “Information in the database relates only to closed cases. However, this may be of interest and of some assistance in solving pending cases in another member state.

It is the nominated official that enters the information on closed cases of counterfeiting/falsified medical product and similar crimes.”

Fighting fakes

The new database was set up as part of the Council of Europe’s Medicrime convention , which was established in 2011 to promote greater cross border collaboration in the fight against counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Europe.

Gilchrist said that: “The EDQM is providing the technical expertise and IT know-how for the database.  The official can work for an authority in a Council of Europe member State or in a state party to the Medicrime Convention.”

To date 20 member states of the Council of Europe have signed the convention, however, it has only been ratified by Hungary, Spain and Ukraine.

The launch of the new database comes just weeks after the European Parliament backed plans to allow customers inspectors stop and search suspected counterfeit drugs being shipped through Europe to destinations elsewhere.

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