Falsified medicines topic

Falsified medicines represent a massive threat to the patient. They contain no active ingredient, or too much or too little of the active ingredient and in some cases they even contain toxic substances or are totally polluted. In Europe, counterfeit medicinal drugs are rare, usually they are offered via illegal Internet sites.

How do you recognize illegal vendors and what is being done to prevent the spread of counterfeit medicinal drugs?

The European Association of Mail Service Pharmacies is involved both at national and European and global level in the fight against counterfeit medicinal drugs and illegal internet offers. Counterfeit medicinal drugs are usually not manufactured and sold by individual offenders. Behind the business with fake pills are internationally active organised crime groups. Therefore, in the fight against them, one also just needs a globally organised network.

How can I tell a legitimate Mail Service Pharmacy?

Legal Mail Service Pharmacies will never issue prescription medicinal drugs without a valid prescription. In addition, legal providers have an imprint in which the name of the responsible pharmacist is listed, the controlling and the pharmacy approving supervisory authority with address and of course the address at which the pharmacy has its seat. Legal providers are always accessible via a phone number or an email address. Those missing such information or gives the seller prescription products without a prescription, can one as consumer assume that it is an illegal provider, from whom one should buy under no circumstances.

Common Logo

Since 01.07.2015 you can see a legitimate Mail Service Pharmacy also by means of the so-called Common Logo of the EU. In the context of European legislation, the supervisory authorities of a Member State are obliged to run a database in which legal Mail Service Pharmacies in the country are listed. By clicking on the logo, a link is established to the database and it lists all the relevant data of the Mail Service Pharmacy. Unfortunately, the EU has made no binding requirements for the technical design of this data connection. ASOP EU has therefore developed its own paper to containing corresponding instructions for reliable design of the common logo.

Another measure of the European Commission shall promote the adoption of FMD (link to the document: ec.europa.eu/health/files/eudralex/vol-1/dir_2011_62/dir_2011_62_de.pdf).

This includes 3 essential criteria:

  1. The Common Logo
  2. The unique identification of a product's packaging
  3. Patient information

Counterfeit protection for pharmaceutical products
To make each individual package safe, a 2D barcode will be applied on each box in future, which contains an unambiguous number among others. This number is stored in a database. If the issuing pharmacists scans the package as issued to the customer, it automatically checks whether this number is in the database and if so it is marked as issued. If the same number is scanned a second time, a warning will be issued, as is expected with a high probability that something is wrong with this medicinal drug. 

Information campaigns
It is the responsibility of Member States, also to inform consumers about the dangers posed by counterfeit medicinal drugs. In addition, consumers should be made aware of the packages on the protective mechanisms, such as the Common Logo and the 2D barcode.

The Internet has become even with medication orders into an important distribution channel. Buy from legitimate suppliers is safe and convenient. The number of patients who buy their medicinal drugs on the internet thus continuously increases. To make this safe in the future, many companies and organisations (NGO) have joined forces called ASOP in a Non Governmental. ASOP is a global initiative, which has its origin in USA. The European branch ASOP EU is based in England and the European association of Mail Service Pharmacies supports their work significantly. Klaus Gritschneder, board member in EAMSP, represents the Association as a Director in ASOP EU. ASOP Asia is under construction. Medicinal drug counterfeiters operate globally, so it is necessary to collaborate globally in the fight against illegal providers. More information can be found at http://safeonlinerx.com/ and http://asop.eu/.

A 100% secure copy protection does not exist on the Internet. With enough time and effort, a security logo can also be faked. Therefore it was decided to introduce the top level domain .pharmacy for legal Mail Service Pharmacies worldwide. Owner of the domain is the National Association Boards of Pharmacy of (NABP). By means of a complex process, it is verified whether pharmacy applicants meet all the criteria for a legal Mail Service Pharmacy. Only then does it get the domain assigned to it. The allocation will be reviewed annually. More information can be found under http://www.safe.pharmacy/