Counterfeit Drugs and Patient Safety: A Real Threat

Counterfeit Drugs and Patient Safety: A Real Threat

Imagine you or a loved one gets sick.  Typically, the first instinct most people have is to see if the illness goes away on its own—like a common cold.  If it doesn’t go away or gets worse, you may take the next logical step and get help by visiting a doctor.   After visiting the doctor, you receive a diagnosis and a prescription to help pave the way to recovery.  Next, the prescription is filled at a local pharmacy and you start taking the medication to get better.  This is a shared behavior for people all over the world—as is the belief that the prescription will help you or your loved one get better.

Sadly, the belief and trust in this common routine is being challenged, and the faith that one will get better is diminishing—especially in African regions.  The impact of  fake drugs have gotten so severe and prevalent, it has prompted one of the worlds most trusted authorities, World Health Organization (WHO),  to conduct a study on prescriptions globally to analyze the prevalence, drug category/type and geography impacted by e counterfeit or substandard drugs.

Based on WHO research, medicines around the globe are being reported as counterfeit or substandard.  The highest report of 42% coming from African regions.  Other regions have less reported issues -  2% in South-East Asia region as an example.  Lower percentages do not indicate an absence of the problem, but instead might be that it isn’t being reported.

What is the impact?  If you are like most people, you have developed an understanding that taking your medicine will make you better.  The fabric of this trust is being dissolved. The safety of the individuals that receive these products is now in jeopardy and combating this issue has become increasingly difficult.  More and more people are dying from the prescriptions that they thought would make them better—either because they have unsafe chemicals in them or because the efficacy of the product is not there.

What is the solution?  While encouraging people to continue to report the information is important, that isn’t a solution to the problem.  More regulations could help countries that may not have existing regulatory requirements. There are many additive solutions on the market that are available to Pharmaceutical companies to help prevent counterfeiting.  The problem is that many of these solutions are easily replicated or altered by counterfeiters.

If the very solution designed to thwart fakes are counterfeited themselves, then what can be done?  Implementation of an effective solution that can’t be replicated is the obvious answer.  Systech’s UniSecure solution does this. With no additional complexity associated with tags, or technology, UniSecure can provide absolute certainty that what is being purchased is real – as promised by the brand message.  UniSecure can bring the trust back to your brand and your products. Go beyond brand protection and put patient safety first.

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