EU Industry Establishes System to Fight Counterfeit Drugs
Five Industry groups are jointly launching a new data center, the European Medicines Verification Organization, to help eliminate counterfeit drugs from the drug supply chain.
Creation of the Luxemburg-based EMVO stems from the EU’s 2011 Falsified Medicines Directive, which mandated drugmakers affix antitampering technology to all drug packaging, including a barcode to verify the authenticity of a drug.
EMVO will be essential to making the barcoding process work. Drugmakers will affix barcodes to the drugs at the manufacturing facility and the barcode data will then be transmitted to the organization for inclusion in a central repository.
Once a drug reaches a pharmacy (or anywhere along the way), the EMVO system will be queried to verify that the drugs bearing the barcode are legitimate. Germany will be the first member state to contribute fully to the effort, through its securPharm system.
In addition to making medicines safer, EMVO can help to reduce the cost of counterfeiting to industry. Last summer, an Italian Medicines Agency study found that up to 10 percent of drugs in the European pharmaceutical market are counterfeit, accounting for an annual loss of $647 billion.
The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 1 percent of drugs sold in the developed world are counterfeit, while the volume of counterfeits exceeds 30 percent in some parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
EMVO is being paid for jointly by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, European Generic medicines Association, European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies, European Association of Pharmaceutical Full-line Wholesalers and Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union.
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