Better Tracking System is Needed

13 02 2013

The Institute of Medicine (IOM – an agency that advises the government on health matters) is calling for a better tracking system for determining the impostors from the real drugs. This is a great report that they have given and hopefully something will be implemented soon. Today, the Institute of Medicine said that the “Fighting the problem of fake drugs will require putting medications through a chain of custody like U.S. courts require for evidence in a trial.” This stance they are taking has come after another FDA warning of fake Avastin. I’ve talked a few times about this counterfeit pharmaceutical, which you can find HERE and HERE and HERE.

According to the report, fake or substandard drugs were sold in at least 124 countries in 2011. Since a lot more pharmaceutical companies are conducting their business overseas this problem will not be going away anytime soon unless, as the Institute of Medicine says, an international response happens. For example, the reason we have drug-resistant tuberculosis is from watered-down pharmaceuticals that are sold in many poor countries. “There can be nothing worse than for a patient to take a medication that either doesn’t work or poisons the patient,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of health law at Georgetown University who led the IOM committee that studied how to combat the growing problem.

The drug-tracking system that is being talked about and that I’ve reported on before would use something, such as, barcodes to verify that the meds and ingredients in the pharmaceutical are authentic. This would be done from the beginning of the process in the manufacturing to the point of sale at the pharmacy. I am glad that IOM’s report talked about this gigantic public health problem. Too many people are hurt and are getting hurt from this and it is sad.

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