PSM2012 – PhRMA and GPhA Heads Discuss Counterfeit Medicine

Partnership for Safe Medicines’ Executive Director Scott LaGanga introduced John Castellani, President and CEO of the
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.  PhRMA leads more than 600,000 of America’s
leading biopharmaceutical professionals who develop new medicines to help people
live longer, healthier lives. He also introduced Ralph
Neas, the President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association.  GPhA represents the manufacturers and
distributors of finished generic pharmaceutical products, manufacturers and
distributors of bulk active pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other
goods and services to the generic pharmaceutical industry. 

Castellani and Neas discussed the impact of counterfeit medicines upon consumers and the lack of knowledge that consumers have about the risks fo counterfeits.

Said Castellani, “I’m very confident that we can stay ahead of the bad guys except when they use the internet.”

Castellani exhorted internet users to use VIPPS certified internet pharmacies but wants to work on what can be done to prevent everyone worldwide from getting medicine that isn’t safe, effective and genuine.

Neas reminded the audience that generic medicines in the US are very, very safe, but that online generic medicines can come from unknown sources.  Neas said that PhRMA and GPhA is working on a national system to protect the security of our drug supply chain. 

“Globally, pharmaceutical companies are working with Interpol to make sure that it has enough resources to go after the bad guys around the world,” said Castellani. “Patients have to have trust in our medications.”

Said Neas, “These are global security issues. I believe that global coalitions are going to get bigger and bigger.”

GphA and PhRMA want to make sure the FDA is well funded. Neas added that the GphA agenda has getting more appropriations for the FDA as a top agenda item, in order to have more agents and more inspections for greater public safety.  

Counterfeit medications are a global issue.  The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and VIPPS is very critical.  96% of online pharmacies are illegitimate.  The Pharmaceutical Security Institute has a counterfeit incident system to keep track of issues where they’re occurring worldwide.  The Pharmaceutical Distribution Security Alliance is looking at electronic systems implementation.  

“The three concerns that someone goes online to buy medication are anonymity, convenience, and identity theft, yet people should be concerned that the fake medication might be deadly,” said Castellani.