Patients, Doctors Must Educate Themselves on the Dangers of Counterfeit Drugs

Global Anti-Counterfeiting Day

05.28.13 | By

Today marks the 15th Global Anti-Counterfeiting Day, and the following guest post was submitted by Marvin Shepherd, Bryan Liang and Thomas Kubic of the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), a leading nonprofit organization fighting against counterfeit drugs.

Today, May 28, may seem like just another workday for most Americans returning to work after the Memorial Day holiday. But for those of us engaged in the fight to protect patients from unsafe or fake medicines, today is rather significant, as it marks the 15th Global Anti-Counterfeiting Day.

When people think of counterfeit products, they tend to think of “victimless” crimes, such as the $2 DVDs or cheap knockoffs of designer watches or sunglasses that can be purchased on street corners in major cities or on websites marketing these phony goods. But the problem of counterfeit medicines is much deeper than that and exposes the world’s patients to major health risks, even death. And while counterfeit drugs are a far greater problem in the developing world, last year’s Avastin incident taught us that although the U.S. has the most secure drug supply chain, we are not immune to criminals who are becoming increasingly more resourceful in trying to get these dangerous products into our borders.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) is marking World Anti-Counterfeiting Day by launching a new campaign to help patients and doctors avoid counterfeit drugs and the criminals who sell them. As the Avastin case proved, the dangers of counterfeit medicines go beyond consumers purchasing fake drugs from phony overseas pharmacies, as physicians and oncology clinics were duped into buying from illegal distributors and wholesalers.

That’s why we are publishing over 25 common-sense tips for both doctors and patients to help recognize and avoid counterfeit medicines, and take steps to prevent fake drugs from infiltrating our supply chain in the future. We’ve had a lot of success in the past year in fighting this global threat, but there is still much work to be done. Until all American patients, physicians, policymakers and stakeholders understand the health risks associated with counterfeit medicines, we will continue to be vulnerable. On World Anti-Counterfeiting Day, PSM wishes to thank all of our partners who are engaged in this struggle, and pledges to continue our efforts to help one day eradicate counterfeit drugs once and for all.

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