The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) made the comments yesterday after it set out 10 principles designed to refocus industry efforts.
Association president Haruo Naito said that: “[The battle against counterfeiting] is not about commercial interest; this is about protecting patients, and we stand ready to be an active partner in WHO-led efforts.”
The IFPMA explained that groups like the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT) are needed because “counterfeiting does not recognize borders” and “patients need to be protected worldwide.”
Adverse events caused by fakes up 7%, PSI
Thomas Kubic, CEO of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), said that the number of adverse events caused by fake drugs is increasing as fakers target new therapeutic areas.
“Based on our research, the number of counterfeit medicine incidents worldwide rose almost seven percent last year, to 1,693. Of particular concern has been the growth in counterfeit anti-infectives.
“Criminal gangs engaged in the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit medicines are now copying other life-saving treatments including cancer therapies and heart disease medicines.”
He went on to explain that the number of incidents involving such counterfeits in 2009 was 50 per cent higher than in the previous year, with a particular increase among patients in Africa.
Developing countries at risk
The IFMPA also emphasized the risk counterfeits pose to developing countries because there is “varying degrees of awareness [of the issue] and limited resources for effective enforcement.”
Association director general Eduardo Pisani said that: “[The] ten Principles will highlight the full scope of the problem and demonstrate that the fight against counterfeit medicines is simply about protecting patients’ health.
“The IFPMA calls on all stakeholders, including governments, health care providers, patients, the private sector and the WHO, to take collaborative action and create a global policy environment that recognizes, prioritizes and effectively addresses this major threat to global health.”