Counterfeiters continue to infiltrate the global pharmaceutical supply chain, and increasingly now thay appear to be targeting high-value drugs, such as HIV antivirals and cancer treatments, according to FiercePharmaManufacturing.
In fact, in Germany, dozens of pharmacies are currently under investigation for suspected distribution of illegal and fake drugs, including painkillers, antibiotics and cancer treatments, as well as so-called "lifestyle medicines," such as impotency drugs and bodybuilding products. This high-profile case seems especially troubling because, among other things, the pharmacists are alleged to have mixed illegally-acquired medicines with genuine product.
Meanwhile, just last week, China's State Food and Drug Administration issued a list of 33 fake medicines known to be in general circulation in the marketplace. The list includes drugs used to treat a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease, gout, arthritis and central nervous system disorders. According to Securing Pharma, the counterfeit drugs include traditional Chinese and allopathic medicines, and they typically carry falsified trademarks of Chinese manufacturers although multinationals are named on some labels, as well.
There's no question that rapid globalization of pharmaceutical supply chains has created significant challenges for companies, regulatory agencies, the greater health care community and patients. Fortunately, the issue is beginning to receive the attention it deserves from a variety of fronts. For example, earlier this summer, the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) rolled out joint strategic plan that includes provisions to address counterfeit prescription drugs. You can read details about the strategy and watch a video of the IPEC announcement here.