As the WHO makes progress on the definition of counterfeit drugs and medical devices, we find it interesting that it is collaborating with INTERPOL to highlight the need for good enforcement to keep counterfeit products off the shelves. Last year, in a five-month operation in Asia, INTERPOL confiscated 20 million counterfeit and illegal pills! Between falsified paperwork, suspiciously-packaged products and unusual odors, simple checks and basic due diligence on imports can assist enforcement officers to identify fakes without the need of any technology.
In short, technology is an efficiency multiplier - organizations need to have basic anti-counterfeit intelligence processes in place to make the most of technology enhancements.
The recent bulletin also provides some interesting statistics:
In more than 50% of cases, medicines purchased over the Internet from illegal sites that conceal their physical address have been found to be counterfeit.
In Singapore, 150 people were admitted to hospital in the first five months of 2008 having severe hypoglycaemia – a sharp drop in blood-sugar levels. Four of them died and seven suffered severe brain damage. They had reportedly taken counterfeit copies of drugs purporting to treat erectile dysfunction but which contained a hefty dose of glyburide, used for treating diabetes.
Read more here.