Week In Review: Promoting Safe Medicines

Week In Review: Promoting Safe Medicines

05.31.13 | By Kaelan Hollon

A troubling headline in the Wall Street Journal’s Africa section caught my attention earlier this week – “Africa’s Malaria Battle: Fake Drug Pipeline Undercuts Progress.” The article described customs officials in Angola finding a counterfeit Malaria drug disguised in a shipment of loudspeakers from China. The article noted that the fakes “are part of a proliferation of bogus malaria drugs in Africa that threatens to undermine years of progress in tackling the disease.”

The advances we’ve made to combat diseases like malaria are astounding, but counterfeit drugs could derail this progress. As a result, The Catalyst focused this week on the importance of protecting against counterfeit medicines to improve health outcomes.

May 28 marked the 15th Global Anti-Counterfeiting Day, and a guest blog from the Partnership for Safe Medicines’ Marvin Shepherd, Bryan Liang, and Thomas Kubic discussed the dangers of counterfeit drugs. The post warned that counterfeit drugs are not only a danger to developing countries, but also in industrialized countries like the U.S. For example, last year, a counterfeit version of Avastin breached the US supply chain, often thought to be the safest in the world. In response to this international problem, PSM launched a new campaign to raise awareness around counterfeit medicines, and published tips that can help even diligent patients avoid being fooled.

Protecting people from counterfeit medicines is essential, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been extremely successful in creating the most impermeable supply chain in the world. But to continue to do this job successfully, Ladd Wiley, the Executive Director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, explained in a guest post that the FDA needs more funding. The agency oversees 25 percent of products that consumers spend their money on, but its budget is almost the same as the school superintendent of Montgomery County, Maryland, the county in which the FDA is headquartered. This averages out to just $8 per year per American, and it isn’t enough. While industry, patients and consumer groups have a variety of perspectives on how well the FDA is functioning, all stakeholders recognize that for FDA to make science-based decisions, it must have the resources it needs to keep up with the demands placed on the agency. 

Check back to learn more about the progress we’re making to combat counterfeit medicines and other important issues facing the industry.

 

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