In an unusual public statement, Mike Deats, who heads enforcement at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, says that "people can be reassured that it is extremely rare to receive counterfeit medicines from either a registered UK pharmacy or from any other legitimate outlet." His remarks were reported byThe Financial Times.
His comments follow the release of a survey of consumers which claimed that more than 1 million folks in the UK believe they have "definitely received" a counterfeit med. The FT writes that the research was conducted by Aegate, a consulting firm that marketis a system to allow pharmacies to check whether a drug is a fake or has been withdrawn. Here is the a summary of the results.
The FT reminds us that Pfizer managed to convince the MHRA to endorse its own ad campaign about the hazards of buying meds on the Internet, including one playing in UK in cinemas and on television showing a man extracting a dead rat from his mouth (see here).
Interestingly, the FT notes that the proportion of counterfeits sold through pharmacies and other regulated networks remains modest, although seizures are rising. The MHRA, Interpol and the World Health Organization orchestrated a series of raids across Europe the other day (see here). An international agreement that aims to criminalize the marketing of counterfeit medicines via the internet is being prepared by the Council of Europe (see here).