The amount of duplicate & subsidized medicines being consumed is unprecedented and growing. Counterfeit medicines can be found anywhere, they could be in a street pharmacy, online shop or within a legitimate supply chain. There is a risk of dangerous health consequences using these counterfeit medicines and there is no way to trace the quality of these drugs.
“According to WHO – 1 in 10 drugs, pills, vaccines, diagnostic kits or other medical products consumed in countries of low and middle income is either falsified, fake or of poor quality.”
Another report from WHO specified alarming numbers that around 79,000 to 169,000 children might be dying each year from pneumonia because they are being treated with fake antibiotics. The report also states that some of the most commonly falsified medicines that are used around the world include anti-malarial and antibiotics.
Counterfeit medicines can have adverse effects on patients’ health and fail to cure them of the diseases they were prescribed. They can even cause antimicrobial resistance and several drug-resistant infections. Moreover, it can also lead to a patient’s loss of trust in medicines and the entire healthcare system.
The composition of falsified medicines usually differs from genuine products. Some counterfeit medicines might not contain any active ingredients that are present in the genuine ones, others may have them but not in the right amount. Some falsified medical products are also reported to contain various toxic chemicals or high amount of the wrong ingredients, which can have both short-term or long-term effect on the patient’s health.
Geography and countries affected by counterfeit medicines:
With easy access to international markets, the supply of counterfeit and substandard medicines has increased exponentially in the past few years. Especially in areas where there is limited access to genuine medicinal products, have poor governance structure and technical capacity, the reach of these counterfeit medicines is maximum.
The manufacturing of counterfeit medicines is taking place across the world. From Europe to North America to Asia and the Middle East, you can find the presence of such manufacturers throughout the world. The scale of manufacturing might differ from region to region, at some places it is going at a large-scale while in other regions it is being performed at small-scale. Areas with easy access to machines, ingredients and manufacturing space, are creating these falsified products at a much rapid pace.
Have you ever asked yourself?
- Who is accountable for human death caused due to substandard medicine?
- Is there any way to know the authenticity of medicine before taking?
- How to identify the difference between branded & falsified medicine?
- How to track if purchased medicine is mislabeled or transported and stored properly?
Reasons that give room for counterfeiting
Most of the time, drug shortages open the door for counterfeit or substandard drugs to enter a market. According to WHO, if there is an insufficient product supply in the market, within days, the vacuum is filled with falsified versions.
In addition to drug shortages, stigma can also open the door to counterfeiters. There are conditions such as weight loss and depression for which there’s a stigma attached, and patients may be too ashamed to see a physician. Therefore, instead of visiting a doctor to get the medication, patients buy products online where the chances of having fake medicines are the maximum.
Higher drug pricing in some of the rural areas encourages some people with inherent desire to make money even when it compromises someone else’s well-being. Moreover, there is limited awareness about the harmful consequences of using these substandard and falsified medicines.
How IoT and blockchain enabled Intelligent Counterfeit Tracking helps?
In order to counter the threat of falsified medicines entering the legal supply chain, many health organizations have taken steps to improve patient safety.
At this hackathon event, our team is on a mission to help the community to eliminate the counterfeit and substandard medicines. We are developing an Intelligent counterfeit tracking (ICT) solution to bring track and identify fake medicines. Our solution will help to bring transparency in the medical supply chain and track the counterfeit medicines. Blockchain ecosystem with integrated IoT will authenticate and secure journey from manufacturers to consumers and protect the breaches into chain & maintain the integrity of life-saving medicines in every manner. Moreover, all of this can be simply monitored through a simple mobile application.
Our solution not only safeguards the health of the patients and keep counterfeiters at bay, it also enables organizations to build trust. Using this solution will help you to strengthen the brand image of organizations in the minds of their customers.
Schedule a call with our expert today to understand how our solution can be helpful for your Pharmaceutical business.