I just addressed the Pharma IQ conference, Winning the War Against Counterfeiters, here in Amsterdam. It was an important opportunity to raise awareness of the threat counterfeit medicines pose to patient health and safety and I'm proud of Pfizer's efforts to mitigate that threat.
The case studies I presented demonstrated how rogue online pharmacies - which conceal their true location and the source of their products - lead patients into believing they provide authentic medicines, when in fact they are dispensing counterfeits, frequently manufactured in unlicensed and unregulated facilities under unsanitary conditions. These "pharmacies" also mislead patients into believing the medicines they receive are safe and effective. In truth, these "medicines" often contain none of the active ingredient required. They may even contain dangerous substances such as pesticides, rat poison and heavy metals.
No region, country, pharmaceutical company or therapeutic area is immune from the threat of counterfeit medicines. Greed motivates those who counterfeit our medicines. They're concerned more with the appearance of their products than their contents, without regard for the lives they put at risk.
Unfortunately, due to advances in modern technology, the copies that counterfeiters produce are often virtually indistinguishable from the authentic medicines. To minimize the risk, patients should be encouraged to buy their medicines only from reliable sources and to notify their healthcare professionals if they notice any difference in the appearance of the packaging, or the appearance and taste of, or responses or reactions to, their medicines.
David Shore is employed by Pfizer Inc as a Director of Global Security within the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
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