Taking the Issue of Counterfeit Medicines Directly to Capitol Hill

Taking the Issue of Counterfeit Medicines Directly to Capitol Hill

03.28.12 | By Jennifer Wall

Today, we have a guest post from Marv Shepherd of the University of Texas.

Earlier this month, the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) hosted a briefing, "The Continued Impact of Counterfeit Drugs in the United States." The event, which took place on Capitol Hill, was the latest in a series of events designed to raise awareness of the global counterfeit medicines epidemic and the need to address the issue head on.

In February, reports that counterfeit Avastin may have infiltrated America's drug supply underscored the serious threat that counterfeit medicines pose to patient health and safety, both in the U.S. and worldwide. Globalization and the rise of Internet pharmacies have significantly complicated distribution of prescription medicines, as anyone with an Internet connection anywhere in the world can technically search for and purchase them. These increased risks highlight the need for a better system to contend with the growing number of expired, stolen and adulterated prescriptions finding their way into our supply chain.

In addition to the challenges we face in combating counterfeit drugs entering our drug supply from foreign markets, another growing issue in prescription drug distribution is increasing variation in state regulations. The Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance (PDSA) is working to create a federal standard of state licensure for all distributors that will even the playing field between states. The more unanimity, the greater our chances of ensuring a coordinated solution to this crisis.

In addition to officials from the FDA, we were honored to have U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and PDSA's Shay Reid. All are in agreement that open and vigorous collaboration and idea-sharing helps pave the way for breakthroughs down the road. Working together, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit medicines and educate the public about how they can help protect our nation's drug supply.

Only then will we effectively ensure that patients have access to safe and reliable medicines.

Follow Jen on Twitter @JenAtPhRMA.

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