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Industry leaders calls on EU to combat counterfeits

Pharma industry leaders have called for strong EU measures to combat counterfeit medicines, including a ban on medicine repackaging
Pharma industry leaders have called for strong EU measures to combat counterfeit medicines, including a ban on medicine repackaging.

Speaking at a meeting of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), in Paris, chairman of sanofi-aventis and EFPIA's anti-counterfeits champion, Jean-Francois Dehecq said:

"Organised crime gangs operating on an international scale and playing with human lives in the name of profit must be dismantled through determined action, systematic prosecution and appropriate sanctions (civil and penal)."

The EFPIA has made a number of recommendations in a bid to tackle the counterfeiters. These include an EU ban on the repacking of medicine - a practise that is currently legal and undermines efforts to put security features on packaging. A pilot scheme, enabling the pharmacist to verify medicine via a unique bar code system, is to be launched before the end of 2008.

Fake medicines, which can contain incorrect types or volume of active ingredients, are often purchased via the internet. The EFPIA has recognised that better consumer education is needed if people are going to be discouraged from obtaining medicines from illegitimate sources.

Individual companies are also assisting in the crackdown by training their staff to recognise counterfeit drugs.

20th June 2008

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