Importation of Counterfeit Medicines a Serious Threat

With the outbreak of counterfeit medicine, importation and exportation of medicines may now present great dangers and additional hazards.


1. Importation of Counterfeit Medicines a Serious Threat

Thousands of packets of medicines go in and out of international boundaries every day. With the outbreak of counterfeit medicine, importation and exportation of medicines may now present great dangers and additional hazards.

The issue of importation is intertwined with the potential for counterfeit drugs and several other regulatory challenges that should be brought to light. If counterfeit medicine is smuggled into a country, the issue of security will surely be pulled into the matter until eventually the competence of government will also be dragged. Fundamentally, counterfeiting is not a local or a single country problem, but is a global issue which makes it even harder to restrain.

In developed countries, preventive measures are already being undergone to counter illegal importation within their boundaries. The issue lies on the number of fraud medicines entering nations which have lack of security. World Health Organization (WHO) is mostly concerned on the importation of counterfeit medicines than illegal drugs which contain opium, nicotine and other illegal substances. Liability concerns are raised for consumers, manufacturers, distributors, pharmacies and other involved entities. To effectively address issues of safety, and by the same token, counterfeits and importation, there must be a closed distribution chain without a gray market, electronic tracking and trace security features must be implemented, and tougher penalties and better enforcement of sanctions against counterfeiters must be put into place.

To protect the public from the threat of incidentally purchasing counterfeit medicines, international health movements, together with the World Health Organization and other Non-profit organizations such as The Peterson Group, WHO requires that prescription drugs be shown to local authorities and undergo quality testing through anti-counterfeit technologies that are distributed to hundreds of pharmacies, hospitals and clinics. Throughout the drug approval process, pharmaceutical manufacturers must prove that they can consistently produce medications of expected strength, quality, and purity. WHO also reviews labeling to ensure healthcare professionals and patients have the information necessary to understand a drug's risks and proper use.

The following are the pressing concerns that pattern countries with similar issues

1.            Quality Assurance Concerns

Each and every pharmaceutical company undergoes sufficient quality assurance and should have an appointed team dedicated for quality control. However, with the pressing issue of counterfeiting, even pharmacies are being doubted to dispense medicines which have never passed quality assurance. This is a grave concern in Jakarta, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand

2.            Presence of untested substance

Imported medications and their ingredients, although legal in foreign countries, may not have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness with the same rigor we use for drug approval in the U.S. These products may be addictive or contain other dangerous substances.


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