Counterfeit medicines are a serious problem in the UK with the growth in availability of fake medicines online. Approximately 50% of medicines bought online from websites that conceal their address are counterfeit, and have been found to contain ingredients such as lead and rat poison. The problem also extends to medicines that are imitations of branded counterparts and can be just as deadly.
What is the Falsified Medicines Directive?
The Falsified Medicines Directive sets out to protect residents within the EU from counterfeit medicines. The Directive sets out a series of stipulations to which all stakeholders within the medicine supply chain must adhere. These stipulations cover almost every aspect of the supply of medicines; from the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients, through distribution and up to the point of dispensing. The most important aspects of the Directive for pharmacists are the requirement to scan many of the majority of packs to verify whether they are genuine and checking the integrity of the packs by observing the status of the new tamper-proof seal.