Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fighting fake drugs ... without a dose of RFID

EU Eschews Track-and-Trace

Interestingly, the European Parliament and the EMEA has not gone as far as its American counterpart, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has urged the drug industry to move towards electronic pedigree, such as RFID. The MEP’s want awareness campaigns, rather than high tech to fight drug counterfeiting.

WHO planning IMPACT

The WHO recently announced its IMPACT program (International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce). It too will include public education, as well anti-counterfeiting technology; harmonising legislation; tougher enforcement; and strengthening regulatory agencies. One option IMPACT will pursue is to give each packet of drugs a code number that can only be read when the seal is broken. The precise details are secret for now, but will be revealed in Bonn in November.

Coding Drugs Actually Works

Thanks to concerted efforts of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the level of counterfeit drugs in Nigeria has dropped from a staggering average of 41 per cent in 2001 to 16.7 per cent this year.

Pfizer’s going direct

In order to circumvent some of the supply chain weaknesses caused by distributors, Pfizer is shipping some drugs direct to the pharmacy now in the UK, according to a report in yesterday's Time's newspaper.

Three times in the past year, fake versions of Pfizer’s heart drug Lipitor found their way into the NHS supply chain. When a drug is counterfeited, the entire batch bearing the same lot number has to be recalled.