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Spain calls for an end to counterfeit medicines

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

New legislation, universal identification systems and greater transparency are among the measures that could help end the trade in counterfeit medicines, says Farmaindustria , the Spanish pharmaceutical industry association. The incidence of counterfeit medicines is increasing in the industrialised world, said Humberto Arnés, the association's director general, at an industry meeting in Santander this week. Public health and intellectual property rights are at stake, he warned. Although the true extent of the problem is unknown, counterfeit medicines are thought to make up around 1% (in volume) of the market in industrialised countries. The problem is much worse in developing countries, where such products can account for up to half the market, he added. Nevertheless, securing the distribution chain could help fight the problem. This could be done by prohibiting third-parties from re-packaging medicines; carrying out audits; immediately reporting falsified medicines to authorities; and establishing a single coding system – for example using datamatrix. Revising legislation on parallel trade was also important, he said.

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