Report backs WHO's role in falsified medicines fight

Prescription padA new report commissioned by an international pharmaceutical trade body has highlighted the need for greater coordination among international stakeholders in the fight against counterfeit or falsified medicines.

Furthermore, it concludes that the World Health Organization (WHO) "is uniquely placed to add value to governments' efforts to protect against all forms of pharmaceutical crime, along with those of local regulators and other national and international agencies."
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) report - which was carried out by researchers at University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy and the research agency Matrix Insight - also calls for more investment in efforts to quantify medicines falsification and to provide early warning systems for counterfeits "as soon as they are detected in legitimate supply chains."

The overall scale of trading in falsified medicines and the resultant harm done to world health has not been accurately assessed, says the report. More investment in its quantification by agencies such as the WHO could in future generate better estimates.

WHO activities should be linked to regional working groups that engage directly with national level public and private stakeholders in protecting health and assuring pharmaceutical sector regulation and effective policy implementation, it adds.

"There is already considerable convergence in the anti-falsification measures being adopted at national and regional levels to safeguard patients’ and the public’s health," commented David Taylor, of the UCL School of Pharmacy, one of the authors of the document.

"Recent research suggests that progress has been achieved, but additional surveillance-backed, systematically-supported and globally-coordinated efforts could do more to protect against falsification and improve health."

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