Law enforcement agencies are vital allies in the pursuit of counterfeiters. It’s important that they get the information they need about the dangers of counterfeiting and how to identify counterfeited medicines.
We work with other pharmaceutical companies to raise awareness and provide training for law enforcement agencies including customs officials and Interpol. The training explains why counterfeiting is dangerous and its potential impact on patients. It includes practical information about our products and our supply chain that can help officials identify suspicious products and information on how to contact our security teams to report suspected cases of counterfeiting.
We also provide training for pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
Are you involved in advocacy on the issue of counterfeiting?
Anti-counterfeiting regulations vary significantly between countries and there are even differences in the way counterfeit products are defined in different regions. This makes it difficult for national law enforcement agencies to work together to tackle counterfeiting. We advocate for legislation that will be effective in protecting patients from the dangers of illegal trade that is also efficient to implement. Much of our advocacy work is conducted through trade organisations. For example, we are working with other pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacists and full line wholesalers to promote the development of a coding solution in Europe. The system would meet the requirements of the EU Falsified Medicines directive, and enable pharmacists to verify the status of a pack using a unique serial number, thereby reducing the possibility of a counterfeit, expired or recalled product being dispensed to a patient.
We also work with individual governments to strengthen regulation. For example, in Colombia, we worked closely with the government and local industry association to help them understand the extent of the counterfeiting problem in Colombia and to create legislation that increases the penalties for people convicted of crimes against public health. In 2009, our Global Security team then helped to secure the country’s first conviction of a counterfeiter under this new legislation.
During 2011, we also hosted a round table discussion on global product security during the year. This brought together representatives from diverse organisations, geographies and perspectives to gain insights into what our stakeholders expect from us in the area of product security, and to gain new perspectives on how we can reduce the threat that counterfeiting and illegal trade pose to global health. Attendees included NGOs, supply chain partners, academics and enforcement professionals from both the developed and developing world. The discussion focused mainly on the critical need for collaboration between all the key players in this area - including the role that AstraZeneca can play, working with other manufacturers and influencing broader stakeholders regarding policy and regulation, enforcement and activities to influence patient understanding and behaviour.
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Preventing counterfeiting and illegal trade in our medicines is an important part of our commitment to patient safety.Read more