Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Knowing the Extent of Counterfeit Medicines in Asia

Counterfeiting medicines are now considered as bioterrorism as there is a widespread of accounts operating across the globe. There is also share of these reports in America and Europe and certain measures are already being implemented to prevent it from spreading. If you are seeking medications for health complaints in Asia, on the other hand, you must be aware of some countries in the region which are notorious for counterfeited meds that even legitimate pharmacies are oftentimes victims.

The extent of the problem is never known as Asia, obviously, is the largest continent with various cultures and security measures implemented in each country. There is never a definite number being presented and the statistics may fluctuate in every place.

The Peterson Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to the total obliteration of fraudulent acts regarding the manufacture, production, importation, exportation and distribution of counterfeited medicines along with other non-profit organizations, private institutions and government divisions is currently paving ways to measure the real extent of counterfeiting in the region.

Counterfeiting is considered the crime of the 21st century. As technology gets fiercer and security more lax scammers are becoming more fearless. The great concern is for those belonging to developing cities and nations. Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are of particular target-- peddlers of fake medication use older heroin and methamphetamine smuggling networks around the “Golden Triangle” to get their drugs across borders.

Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand is another concern. Thankfully, laws in Indonesia are becoming stricter against illegal importation of counterfeit medicines. The only problem which remains to be one of the major issue in the archipelago is its geographical demographic which enables fraudsters to transfer these counterfeits from port to port without being detected.

World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released statements which states that 10-30 percent of medicines are estimated to be counterfeited. Everyone fears that these ambiguous figures are too broad to really know the extent of the problem. Many critics also say that the industry may be growing rapidly than its legitimate counterpart.

Drug counterfeiters not only defraud consumers, they also deny ill patients the therapies that can alleviate suffering and save lives. Increasingly well-organized counterfeiters coupled with sophisticated technologies have allowed criminals to profit from drug counterfeiting at the expense of Asian patients. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on the definition of counterfeit or falsified medicines in Asia. Countries issuing regulations have their own definitions, making information exchange and anti-counterfeit strategies development difficult. The feat of knowing the extent of this issue is still ongoing.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Antiretroviral Drugs Continues to Circulate in the Market

More than 35 million individuals are currently living with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) around the world. Many are opening out to the public with an aim to create awareness and serve as a warning to others but there are also individuals who choose to live in the cave as this disease is understandably embarrassing and degrading.

With the increasing number of peoples being treated with AIDS, many government bodies partnered with the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) for the increasing access to antiretroviral therapy (AVR).  Although protective and advanced measures are being adopted by many government offices, private institutions, non-profit foundations and public organizations, the widespread of counterfeit medicines are continuously increasing but less attention are being paid into it as more and more issues are being considered as prior importance.

The Peterson Group, a non-profit organization battling against the illegal manufacture and distribution of counterfeit drugs is one of the team dedicated to eliminate the use of antiretroviral therapy in the black market, many of which are found to be composed of substances such as paint, chalk and many other compounds used in daily living.

Counterfeit Zidolan-N, a known drug used to counter HIV/AIDS is found to be released in great quantities in Kenya, Africa and Jakarta, Indonesia. Another drug, Truvada is said to be products of fraudulent manufacturers in the United Kingdom. These operations are already said to have been raided by the authorities but scam reports are continuously coming in as more and more people are continuously patronizing under the table sales of these drugs given that 240,000 of victims are under 15 years old. Most of them are without the difference of the real ones from frauds.

There may be reasons for the lack of access of legitimate, FDA-approved AVRs in the market. One of these is the fact that only 12.1 million individuals have been given access to real drugs, given that less developed countries are underprivileged without much focus and support from authorities and many more individuals living almost under the rock.

The cost of legitimate drugs is also one cause of purchasing the more affordable ones with little or no awareness for its real ingredients.

Lack of security is also one of the reasons of the widespread. In Indonesia, for instance: the archipelagic geography of the country provides open ports which enable fraudsters to transfer and import the drugs without being detected.

Everyone, everywhere, involved in the fight against AIDS wants there to be a cure. But until a cure is found, ARV represents our only form of life-saving treatment. We have done our part in the process but will continue to pursue our goal until a definite solution is found, hopefully, in the near future.

Monday, July 13, 2015

FDA Warns On More Counterfeit Cialis

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning on the personal importation of adulterated and counterfeit medicines continuously circulating in the market. With the help of private institutions, online websites and non-profit organizations which support the campaign against counterfeit medicines are now on full-force to know the source of this widespread of erectile dysfunction treatment which promises many but realizes none. Cialis is one of the products believed to dominate the market. Even black markets are currently under siege in search of fraudsters. In Jakarta, Indonesia, more than 20 stalls were closed down for further investigation.

The government is already being cautious on the strict implementation of rules against these illegal medicines because of the discovery of fraud Cialis back in 2008 in New Zealand which led to one death and up to 30 serious adverse and 59 other possible reactions. Victims had been verified to even reach Singapore. It may also be possible that there are more cases on the neighboring countries.

According to reports submitted to The Peterson Group, one of the non-profit organizations partnering with FDA, four products had been found to contain dangerous levels of prescription medicine to treat diabetes. All four products contain glibenclamide, a prescription medicine used to treat diabetes as well as prescription medicines used to treat erectile dysfunction.
Glibenclamide acts by lowering blood sugar levels and its use by consumers who do not have diabetes can produce serious side effects including coma and possible death.

It's important to note that there are no safety concerns with genuine Cialis products that are currently available on a prescription and obtained from a New Zealand pharmacy. The product sponsor, Eli Lilly, is concerned about this counterfeiting development and is working with New Zealand and international authorities to investigate the matter.

It may be possible that these products had reached your neighborhood. In this case, stop taking the product immediately. Contact a doctor immediately if you feel unwell. Even if you have not felt unwell, consult your doctor at the earliest opportunity.

Medsafe has noted for some time that counterfeit medicines have appeared at the border in consignments destined for individuals purchasing over the internet. In February this year Medsafe received the results of testing of some 27 products believed to be counterfeit that were seized at the border during the second half of 2007. Testing confirmed that all of the products contained an erectile dysfunction prescription medicine (either sildenafil or tadalafil). In many cases the products were contaminated with other medicine active ingredients indicating poor manufacturing quality or further evidence of fraud. The poor labeling and presentation of the products also indicated their quality was below the standards required in New Zealand. Countries of origin included: India, China and Thailand.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Anti-Counterfeiting Machineries

The Peterson Group with a set of individuals and experts aiming to stop the production, importation, exportation and usage of counterfeit medicines has partnered with various entities, public and private organizations as well as fellow non-profit institutes have developed machineries to know which medicine is counterfeited.

Hologram Machinery

Fortunately, there are methods developed to use in order for us to determine real from fake medicines. Although there are no significant proof yet on how these machines and process can be used and which ones can be the best option to distribute to the market. The following are ideas given by the World Health Organization (WHO):

1.            Holograms

Probably the most familiar overt feature is the “dove hologram”. Holograms and similarly optically variable devices can be more effective when incorporated with a tampered evident feature. However, some holograms are easily copied as a lot of scammers are also experts in technological advancement.

2.            Invisible Printing

Using special inks, invisible markings can be printed with some substrate, and which only appear in under certain conditions like UV light or IR illumination. They can be formulated to show different wavelengths and colors. This kind of new technology is currently being studied in Jakarta, Indonesia.

3.            Laser Coding

This method comes with a very expensive cost. However, the results can be very impressive and would be very hard to simulate. Laser codes can be applied to cartons and packaging, plastic and metal components.

4.            Chemical Taggants

Trace chemicals can only be done with special and unique devices. Also, it can only be detected by highly specialized reagent systems, but not normally detectable by conventional analysis.

Bar codes
5.            Bar Codes

Bar codes are one of the most conventional method of uniquely branding some medicine packaging and distinguish it from fraud ones. The so-called nano technologies allow microscopic application onto available tablets.  However, there are also a lot of techniques done by scammers that can duplicate bar codes.

6.            Mass Sterilization

Serialization includes the processes of generating, encoding, and verifying the unique identity of individual physical items. Without mass serialization, the authenticity and validity of the pedigree relates only to the lot number consisting of thousands of bottles. However, a specific bottle of a particular drug cannot be authenticated

7.            Data Carriers

Data carriers are graphical systems used to convey the product identifiers and associated information in computer and/or human readable format. A mark, tag, or label applied at the source represents them. Computer readable formats include linear and two dimensional (2D) bar codes and radio frequency identifier (RFID) tags.