In 2011 alone, the United States spent over $2 billion in drug and pharmaceutical sales. Because this industry is so lucrative, dishonest individuals have been attempting to take advantage through the production and proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceutical medications. This poses an issue for many people. For pharmaceutical packaging companies and manufacturers, this requires a lot more money to be spent looking for ways to authenticate packaging. For the pharmaceutical industry, this means a great deal of money lost at both a manufacturing level and a sales level. Perhaps the most detrimental effect of counterfeit drugs is the potential harm and havoc it can wreak on unsuspecting takers of the medication itself.
When someone ingests counterfeit drugs, two things can happen. The first thing that can happen is that no effect whatsoever will be had, and the person’s symptoms or condition will not see any relief. For those taking heart regulating medications or metabolic stabilizers for diabetics, this can be very dangerous. The other effect is that the ingredients used to make these faux drugs can be harmful to ingest in the first place. Namely, taking fake medicine can make a person sicker, and in some extreme cases might even kill them.
So what can be done to combat this extremely dangerous and threatening counterfeit drug industry? One of the biggest solutions on the forefront is called pharmaceutical serialisation. Pharmaceutical serialisation is a pharmaceutical track and trace system that creates a transparency to the production, packaging, and transportation of the drugs. The track and trace solution entails providing a serial number on every packaged medication. When scanning the serial number, one is able to see the drug from its conception to deliverance, and can show even the slightest of changes, such a repackaging or transportation delays.While this system is complicated, pharmaceutical serialisation is proving to effectively combat the counterfeit drug industry.
If track and trace pharma does not provide you with enough reassurance, there are things that you as a consumer can do to ensure that your medications are the real McCoy. Firstly, NEVER buy you prescription medications from an unaccredited website. Many of these websites claim to offer discounted prescription medications. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Secondly, do your research. There are now applications available for download that allow you to scan barcodes yourself to check for product legitimacy.