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Stephanie Sutton was an assistant editor at Pharmaceutical Technology Europe.
The threat of counterfeit medicines in the next year will be more severe than ever, according to a survey of 1000 companies conducted in October 2010 by Pharma IQ.
The threat of counterfeit medicines in the next year will be more severe than ever, according to a survey of 1000 companies conducted in October 2010 by Pharma IQ. More than 60% of the 1000 pharma anti-counterfeiting specialists surveyed believed that the threat of counterfeit medicines would increase and 53.8% have said they intend to invest more in anti-counterfeiting.
Emerging markets in Asia — particularly China — were seen as the major source of counterfeit drugs (50% of respondents); however, 21.4% of respondents indicated that the internet was also a major threat to the pharma market. Indeed, these views are reflected in an interview about anti-counterfeiting conducted by Pharma IQ with Sébastien Mauel, Head of Product Security at Ares Trading SA, an affiliate of Merck Serono SA.
“The pharmaceutical industry and the legitimate supply chain are highly regulated, therefore as long as you source your medicines from a reputable pharmacy, the risk of getting a counterfeit product is low. This risk becomes much higher in developing countries where the distribution system is less secure, and also when you purchase medicines from uncontrolled sources, such as certain online pharmacies, which provide no guarantee at all about the quality of the medicines they sell,” said Mauel.
Although emphasis on anti-counterfeiting has been growing in recent years, a number of survey respondents indicated that they were not happy with their current solutions. Only 53% of respondents were satisfied with their current anti-counterfeit technology; more than 23% admitted that they weren’t and 84% said they were looking to invest in new ones.
According to Mauel, companies are implementing a number of proprietary security solutions and also working on common safety measures to secure the distribution. He also added that well-targeted awareness campaigns would be important to encourage people to always source their medicines from legitimate and controlled suppliers.
Although the survey revealed the significant consciousness of the threat of counterfeit medicines, however, it also revealed great confidence in the ability of the pharma industry to tackle the issue, with almost 85% of respondents optimistic that the industry would eventually win the war.
The survey was conducted as pre-research for a conference on pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting, which will take place in February in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).