Yesterday's headline suggesting that up to 1 in 7 drugs in the global marketplace provided a timely reminder of the problem as the second Global Forum on Pharmaceutical Anticounterfeiting gets underway in Paris, France, today.
And to help combat the counterfeiters, the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) has now launched its dedicated website on counterfeit medicines, aimed at providing pharmacists with the necessary resources to better serve their patients and the public and combat counterfeit medicines, reports Phil Taylor.
The website extends the FIP's existing work on counterfeiting, which led to the drawing up of guidelines for its member organisations in 2003. The website will be a vehicle for the FIP membership - consisting mainly of pharmacy and pharmaceutical organisations - to implement the guidelines, as well as provide a means for cases of counterfeiting to be reported and made public.
In yesterday's article on In-PharmaTechnologist.com, the reluctance of governments and pharmaceutical companies to make public cases of counterfeiting was held up as a serious impediment to combating the problem.
"The massive circulation of poor quality, harmful and counterfeit active ingredients and finished products in international commerce can seriously reduce the quality of patient care," said FIP president Jean Parrot.
FIP set up a Working Group on Counterfeit Medicines in 2003 as a joint initiative with the World Health Organization (WHO) to respond to the increasing problem of fake drugs, particularly in developing countries. It is focusing on raising public awareness about counterfeits and the dangers of purchasing medicines over the internet, collecting and providing data through collaboration with patients and consumers, encouraging the reporting of counterfeits, involving quality control laboratories and improving training in the area of counterfeit medicines.
The new webpage - which is also mirrored on the FIP's own website at www.fip.org - is part of that effort and will address five main areas: policy and guidelines; initiatives; publications; information for patients and public; and reporting a counterfeit case.