Warning on fake devices

The danger of counterfeit medical devices and drugs entering healthcare supply chains in Europe is growing, according to a new report from the University of London’s School of Pharmacy.

The report, Reducing the Threat of Medicines Counterfeiting in the EU, states that counterfeit therapies are “a growing source of potential danger” to patients.

The report’s authors, Prof. David Taylor and James Davies, said: “In Britain this year fake insulin ‘pens’ and asthma inhalers have been found.” They say that counterfeit drugs and devices are being supplied from Bulgaria and other European countries to exploit the healthcare market.

The report is timed to coincide with the Parliamentary ENVI Committee’s report on the EC’s proposal for a draft directive on counterfeit medicines, though the latter report may not be published until January.

Taylor and Davies support the EC’s proposal to number all individual medicine packs uniquely and add improved anti-tampering devices. They argue that the estimated €12bn cost of these measures will be offset by improved stock control and a falls in recalls, as well as public health benefits.

The report also argues that European suppliers have a responsibility to help reduce the severe impact of counterfeit therapies in the developing world (especially in Africa) – both through anti-counterfeiting measures and by improving access to treatments.

“Europe needs to protect its people more effectively now and for the future,” the report concludes, “and has an important opportunity to lead the rest of the world towards adopting effective anti-counterfeiting solutions.”