IFPMA launches Ten Principles on Counterfeit Medicines

May 20, 2010
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) published its "Ten Principles on Counterfeit Medicines" last week to draw public attention to the issue.

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) published its “Ten Principles on Counterfeit Medicines” last week to draw public attention to the issue. The principles define counterfeit medicines, describe the threats they pose, suggest ways to prevent counterfeit drugs from reaching patients, and urge support for the World Health Organization (WHO) and its International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT).

“Counterfeit medicines are a crime, and our industry is serious about tackling this problem head on,” said Haruo Naito, president of IFPMA and president and CEO of Eisai (Tokyo), in an IFPMA press release. Counterfeiters pose a threat to global public health by attempting to present their products as legitimate medicines, he added. “We stand ready to be an active partner in WHO-led efforts, including IMPACT.”

Data gathered by the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), a not-for-profit organization that collaborates with regulators and shares information about the counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals, indicate that the scope of the problem and the number of incidents are increasing. “Based on our research, the number of counterfeit medicine incidents worldwide rose almost seven percent last year to 1693,” said Thomas T. Kubic, CEO of PSI, in an IFPMA press release. “Of particular concern has been the growth in counterfeit anti-infectives. In 2009, incidents involving counterfeit anti-infectives increased by almost 50% over the previous year. Anti-infectives, which include antimalarials, are the therapeutic category most affected by counterfeiting incidents in Africa. Moreover, criminal gangs engaged in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of counterfeit medicines are now copying other life-saving treatments, including cancer therapies and heart-disease medicines,” said Kubic.

Although many governments recognize counterfeiting as a public-health threat, policymakers and the general public are not fully aware of the consequences of counterfeiting or of the scope of action required, according to an IFPMA statement. Developing countries are particularly at risk because of their various degrees of awareness and their limited resources for effective enforcement.

“We hope that the Ten Principles will highlight the full scope of the problem and demonstrate that the fight against counterfeit medicines is simply about protecting patients’ health,” said Eduardo Pisani, director general of the IFPMA, in a press release. “The IFPMA calls on all stakeholders, including governments, healthcare providers, patients, the private sector, and the WHO, to take collaborative action and create a global policy environment that recognizes, prioritizes, and effectively addresses this major threat to global health.”

IFPMA is a global nonprofit nongovernmental organization that represents the research-based pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and vaccine industries. The organization comprises leading international companies and national and regional industry associations from developed and developing countries.

See related PharmTech articles:

FDA Guidance Addresses Anticounterfeiting Measures” (PharmTech)

Europe Continues to Battle Counterfeiters” (PharmTech Europe)