Monday, January 11, 2016

Is the Government Doing Anything Against Counterfeiting?

We have been aware of the present critical phase of the issue of counterfeiting among pharmaceutical medicines across the globe. As you may also have noticed, the information is mostly provided by non-profit organizations and international agencies which have been campaigning against this deadly illegal act. World Health Organization (WHO) even tagged this crime as silent terrorism as it can create an outbreak of highest mortality rate in just one blow just as what had happened in South Africa when an entire village was poisoned by a fraud anti-malarial medicine on a malaria epidemic.

When the news gained public attention, the blame was pointed to the loose security, corruption and bribery occurring within the government. In turn, the political powers prove their innocence by deploying authorities and procuring technologies which can identify the fraudulent copies of medicines being imported, distributed and exported in and out of the country. However, after the issue subsides and the public returned to their subtle reproach towards the government, the business of counterfeit medicines – this time, of different brand and substance – thrives once again. 

Indonesia is no different despite the strict death penalty on anyone found guilty of smuggling and distributing illegal medicines within the archipelago. The country is known to have lucrative manufacturing business of counterfeit medicines in Jakarta, second to China which still holds the title of the most productive country for counterfeiting. 

On the other hand, the United States boasts of their 1% counterfeiting rate when the rest of the world records 30% of the overall medicines as counterfeited. Still, as the Peterson Group, one of the NGOs providing information on counterfeit drugs, points out, this number is nothing to be proud of. As long as there is a number existing, the citizens are still not safe from the dangers of counterfeiting can bring. 

The warnings of WHO and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are being disregarded with the issues of poverty and illiteracy. There may have hopes and solutions for these problems, yet, with the time dragging by and no active measures still being implemented, it may well be improbable that these are not meant to be solved. 

There are only a few World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified quality control laboratories across the world. Drug buyers and suppliers should utilize these facilities. Laboratory testing assures quality and ensures the procurement and supply of safe and quality medicines.

However, these laboratories alone cannot meet the needs of the entire population. 

The government and other non-state actors should invest in more testing equipment, especially in rural areas. 

But without any possible feedback from them, we can’t help but ask, is the government doing anything against counterfeiting?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Peterson Group to Join Medicrime Convention

Counterfeiting has been a long-time issue among health advocates. It has brought frustrations and arguments on top of complaints on the seemingly unsolvable problem. Dozens of seminars and raids have already been conducted to abolish counterfeiting but the business just seems to get bigger. It is already being considered in many reviews as one of the most lucrative criminal business around the world.

With the world in danger of falling victim to counterfeit medicines, a lot of NGOs, government agencies and international organizations are summing up ideas on the best approach to defeat fraudulent practice on drug production, exportation, importation and distribution. European nations have been leading the campaign against counterfeiting even with lower counterfeiting cases than the United States. Asia, with its diversified cultures, variety of languages, and numerous traditions falls behind the battle considering it is also a home to the most number of counterfeit drugs and the largest producer of illegal medicines.

Tired of all the intrigues on the inadequacy of the authorities to take down the groups behind these scams, the Medicrime Convention of the Council of Europe sets the first international standard for criminalizing the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit medicines. The Peterson Group, with foundations in Jakarta, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has readily signed up as one of the active members among dozens of non-profit organizations who also participated in the cause. 24 other countries also signed the agreement which is to be ratified on January 1, 2016.

Headed by the Council of Europe with 60 years of experience in promoting healthy and quality medicines, this innovative treaty is adopted in 2010 by Medicrime Convention is designed as the first international medical treaty with the main goal to protect the quality of medicines being distributed across countries.

Global pharmaceutical companies welcomed the entry of force by Medicrime convention.

According to an interview with Eduardo Pisani, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), strong legislative framework is needed to combat the rampant issue and Europe has the sense to lead international parties in strengthening the policies which has lacked stern implementation in the last few years.

The criminals who deliberately endanger the health and lives of the patient and the overall public have been undermining the confidence in public health system and should therefore be considered as a matter of urgency.