IOM Report Indicates Need For Global Tracking System

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IOM Report Indicates Need For Global Tracking System

Just weeks ago, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued a warning to doctors (the third warning of its kind) regarding counterfeit batches of Avastin, an injectable cancer drug. The drug is used to treat individuals who have advanced breast, colorectal, and lung cancer renal cell cancers. About a week after this warning was issued, the IOM (National Institute of Medicine) released a report designed to inhibit the flow of counterfeit drugs, recommending that stricter licensing standards for drug wholesalers be considered, and that a national drug-tracking system be created. Lawrence Gostin, chair of the committee that prepared the IOM report, said that problems with medications such as those used to treat tuberculosis and malaria were particularly troublesome, especially in low- and middle-income countries, and that the problems were only increasing. Gostin, who is a Georgetown University Law Center professor and World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights director, said that nothing can be worse than for an individual who is ill to take a medication that either poisons him or her, or doesn't work at all. One suggestion which was made in the report was a system of electronic tags and barcodes which would be useful in verifying both the ingredients in a medication, and its authenticity; this system would be implemented by the WHO and effective for combating fraudulent drug suppliers and manufacturers who use increasingly sophisticated methods to counterfeit drugs. As the manufacturing of prescription medications has moved more and more overseas for many U.S. pharmaceutical companies, counterfeiting has become a growing problem around the world. Gostin says that reports by INTERPOL are simply anecdotal, and that there really is no global tracking and tracing in place. At Markem-Imaje, we realize the growing concern over drug counterfeiting, and the risk to patients who need authentic medications. We offer industrial traceability solutions to manufacturers around the world.

January 10, 2014
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