Counterfeit medicines have been around since the 1960s and spread worldwide, and most people have no idea how big of an issue they are. According to some estimates, 10% of all pharmaceutical drugs in circulation are counterfeit, while others put that number as high as 50%. Many of these products are so well-made that they’re almost indistinguishable from the real thing; consumers don’t know what they’re buying until it’s too late and their lives are at risk.
The first step is to educate yourself and your team about what counterfeit drugs look like. Often, these drugs will have different packaging than the legitimate version, so it’s important to spot the difference.
You should also put procedures in place to track and trace all of the drugs in your supply chain, from start to finish. This way, if you do come across a counterfeit drug, you’ll be able to quickly identify where it came from and eliminate it from your system.
Pharmaceutical companies use a common counterfeit drug tactic: falsifying a prescription with a doctor’s signature. These drugs are usually labeled as aspirin or Tylenol, but they can cause allergic reactions or other problems for patients who need their prescriptions filled by prescription-only medications.
A quality control specialist for a Biotech Pharma company has spotted 2 pack boxes of fake Lipitor labeled as generic outside her pharmacy, with a quantity of 10 instead of 20 tablets per box.
Ways to Spot Counterfeit Drugs in Your Supply Chain
Imported from China:
Pharmaceutical counterfeiting is a huge problem, especially when imported drugs from China or India. Here are ways to spot counterfeit drugs in your supply chain:
● Check the packaging. If the packaging looks different from what you’re used to, it could be counterfeit.
● Check the expiration date. If the expiration date is missing or doesn’t match what you know about the drug, it could be counterfeit.
● Check the batch number. Pharmaceutical counterfeiting involves reproducing the original batch number and expiry date onto fake product labels.
● Check the National Drug Code (NDC). The NDC should correspond with what’s listed on other sources of information like the FDA website or your supplier’s website. If they don’t match up, then they could be counterfeit.
In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, counterfeit drugs are a serious problem. Many companies are turning to serialization to combat this, putting a unique code on each drug. You can scan this code to verify the drug is genuine. Several other ways to spot counterfeit drugs in your supply chain include QR codes and ref Nurotag.
The most important step is ensuring you have pharmaceutical supply chain software (Medorbits) that can track and trace every product throughout the supply chain. It will help identify counterfeit drugs that may have entered the system. Next, take a close look at the contact information for each supplier. If the contact information is questionable, it could indicate that the supplier is not legitimate. Verify all contact information before doing business with them.
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