Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spot a Counterfeit in a Distance

Being in the cause of stopping counterfeit drugs, we at The Peterson Group also have challenges on how to differentiate between counterfeit drugs and legit ones. We know you are also in the same page as we are. In response to this, Food and Drug Administration released some factors in knowing and recognizing counterfeited drugs.

Of course, there are sometimes very obvious telltale signs of counterfeiting faulty spelling, for example, incorrect packaging or tablet size.

Yet counterfeiters are fast becoming better at replicating genuine drugs correctly, and are increasingly sophisticated when mimicking specific anti-counterfeit measures such as brand logos. This has pushed manufacturers to enhance anti-counterfeit technology. Hopefully, these methods have already reached developing cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok Thailand to prevent the growth of drug counterfeiting in those places. May the following be a warning to all of us:

1. Visible markings

Medicines can be marked in ways that make it easy even for consumers to identify frauds. For instance, packets and bottles can have tamper-evident seals. And like banknotes and credit cards, medicines can be marked with embossed graphics or holograms security inks that change in color according to the angle they are viewed at.

2. Invisible markings

These are usually identifiable only to the supplier or distributor, not the consumer. They make use of invisible inks that can be detected in UV light, digital watermarks that encode data in graphics, anti-scan designs that reveal a watermark when copied, or inks imbued with specific micro-encapsulated odors.

3. Forensic labeling

Manufactures can use 'lock and key' systems, applying specific biological or chemical tags, such as DNA, that are not detectable by standard analysis and can only be revealed by specific reagents. Other forms of tagging can include silicon dioxide micro or nano tags, applied to the surface of a pill, that emit a unique light signature.

4. Track and trace labeling

In this system, each pharmaceutical package is uniquely labeled either with a barcode or some other non-sequential unique number. The label should then be read at the final point in the supply chain, when a pharmacist dispenses medicines to a consumer. This helps to ensure drugs are genuine and not past their expiration date. A more complex system is radio frequency identity (RFID) tagging, in which the tag is an antenna with a microchip. This means that the data can be read at a greater distance and do not need to be scanned like a barcode.

5. Scratch and Text

Sproxil has developed a simple and quick way to fight counterfeits in developing nations. The start-up attaches each packet of drugs a unique identification code that is concealed by a foil coating. When a consumer get a medication, he should scratch the coating and text messages the unique ID number in Sproxil’s database. Within seconds, the person receives a reply indicating whether the drug is legitimate. Sproxil is testing system in Nigeria, Kenya. You can then find a complaint afterwards.

6. Medicines Quality Database

Information may be one of the best weapons in the war of counterfeits. Earlier this year, the US Pharmacopeial Convention made public a database that includes information on nearly 9000 drug samples that were collected and tested from Africa and South East Asia. The MQDB provides information on where drugs where collected, how they were tested, whether they were legitimate and how authorities responded to instances of poor quality medicine.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Peterson Group and WHO to Fight against Drug Counterfeits

Described as the crime of the 21st century, the counterfeiting of drugs is a common problem that plagues the governments and manufacturers in Asia. Of all the counterfeiting methods there are, none are more potentially damaging than those affecting health and safety. The production, distribution and consumption of counterfeit and fraud medicines are worldwide and affecting greatly not only in Asia which poses the biggest manufacturers of counterfeits but also to the countries where the drugs has been distributed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a significant fraction of the world’s drug supply is counterfeit and falsified. Estimates of counterfeit drugs range from 10 to 15 % for the world drug supply, to more than 25% in developing countries (Gibson, 2004).

With the turn of the first quarter of 2015, The Peterson Group, a non-profit organization which brings awareness and action against counterfeit drugs has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) in battling with the illegal drugs’ production.
In Asia, recent WHO estimates suggest that Cambodia has about 2800 illegal medicine sellers and 1000 unregistered medicines on the market. In 2001, China had roughly 500 illegal medicine manufacturers, and the Lao People's Democratic Republic had about 2100 illegal medicine sellers. In Thailand, substandard medicines account for 8.5% of those on the market. Jakarta, Indonesia, on the other hand, has been reported to be the hotspot of counterfeit drugs and scams.

WHO has been working on the issue with regional governments for some time, and late last year, a meeting in Bangkok led to the development of country specific plans of action. The government of Australia has made funds available through the WHO for fighting counterfeit drugs in the region. The government agency also partnered with various organizations with the same advocacy. The Peterson Group is one of the many organizations who answered the call.

Combating low quality and illegal medicines are now more important than ever. Governments and agencies have now put up warnings on different media to fight this widespread illegal act. The Peterson Group is not any different. In fact, the company felt more obliged to wipe out the issue more than ever.

For the Peterson Group, it is pure and simple: counterfeit medicines are fake medicines and pose greatest harm if not stopped. The group continuously fights what seems an unending battle. Fake medicine is a grave matter which should not be ignored. The Peterson Group continues to vie for more help in response to the ill misconduct of production of fake medicines, believing that someday, these fraudulent acts may somehow halt to a stop.