The pharmaceutical manufacturers improve the traceability of medicines by providing the medicines packages with an individual code which makes it possible to verify that an original package is dispensed to the patient. With the help of the database and the individualised package markings, the actors in the sector can ensure that only legal pharmaceutical products with an appropriate marketing authorisation enter the pharmaceuticals chain.
Medicine packages will also be provided with features, such as seals or strip packages, which will reveal eventual tampering.
These measures constitute part of the joint project of the European lobby organisations, including the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations Efpia which represents the research-based industry; the European Generics Association EFA; the European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies EAEPC which is the representative of parallel importers; the pharmacy organisation Pharmaceutical Group of the EU; as well as the European Association of Pharmaceutical Full-line Wholesalers GIRP. The operations are related to the European directive on counterfeit medicines which aims at an increasingly watertight prevention of counterfeits entering the consumer market.
Counterfeits are a serious health risk for medicine users and for the public health. Counterfeit medicines find their way to Finland mainly through Internet orders but also through people who have bought them abroad. In 2014, the Finnish customs at airports were faced with about 2,600 medicines-related violations, with counterfeits accounting for over 1,000 cases.
The operations behind the counterfeit medicines are run by organised crime – similarly to the trading in doping agents and drugs. Despite controls, counterfeit medicines have also been detected in the legal Finnish distribution chain. According to the authorities, the counterfeits found in Finland have, however, not caused any danger to the patients.
“Efficient prevention of counterfeit medicines calls for uniform use of the safety markings across Europe. This is also a requirement under the EU directive on counterfeits. We Finnish pharmaceutical branch actors are fully committed to the introduction of safety markings in this country. Currently, we are preparing the practical ways of implementing this in line with the recently adopted European co-operation agreement”, Sirpa Rinta, PIF’s Director of Pharmaceutical Policy comments on the future steps.
According to the objective of pursued through the Europe-wide co-operation in the pharmaceutical branch, the new safety markings and the database to be established for tracking the packages would be up and running by the year 2019, depending on the decision-making timetables in the EU.
Sirpa Rinta, Director of Pharmaceutical Policy, Pharma Industry Finland PIF
Tel: +358 40 533 0666
Maija Gohlke-Kokkonen, Special Adviser, Pharma Industry Finland PIF, tel.
Tel: +358 40 700 1655
Further information on counterfeit medicines http://www.laaketeollisuus.fi/laakkeet/laakevaarennokset