WASHINGTON — "The problem [of counterfeit medicines] is so big, disperse and complex that it requires a sweeping coordinated global response," wrote Scott LaGanga, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines and SVP public affairs and advocacy for PhRMA in a blog published by The Hill on Saturday.
"According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 97% of all internet pharmacies do not meet the most basic criteria for accreditation," LaGanga wrote. "The reality is that all those emails clogging our inboxes from purported 'Canadian' pharmacies are often selling unapproved, counterfeit and potentially lethal medicines with no guarantees of the drugs being produced in Canada or other so-called 'Tier One' countries."
The blog follows a Congressional hearing on counterfeit medicines, held Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
According to the Partnership for Safe Medicines, as many as 36 million Americans have purchased prescription medicines online without a prescription. Coupled with the fact that only 3-in-10 online pharmacies are legitimate, "that is, put very simply, a recipe for disaster," said Marv Shepherd, PSM president. "The bottom line is that criminal enterprises have been evolving and innovating at a faster pace than our government’s efforts to stop them, and that must change soon," he said. "As the worldwide prevalence of counterfeit drugs continues to increase, it is imperative that we work together to ensure that the prescription drug supply chain in the United States remains the safest in the world.”
"However, there [is] much more to be done, and that requires decision-makers at all levels of our government to work in public/private partnership with industry, patients and providers," LaGanga concluded in his blog. "With the rise of counterfeit medicines as a booming global industry, there is simply too much at stake for patient health to ignore the issue any longer."