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The Impact of Falsified Medicines

In recent years, the number of falsified and counterfeit medications infiltrating the supply chain has become a growing problem for global health organisations and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Not only have there been cost implications, but there are also huge risks to patient safety.

The WHO references illegitimate medications as substandard and falsified medical products, with falsified medicines defined as “medical products that deliberately/ fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition, or source” (1).

According to the WHO, about one in 10 pharmaceutical products in low and middle income countries are either substandard or falsified (2). The WHO also reported that, as of November 2017, “20 global medical product alerts and numerous regional warnings” had been issued, with “technical support provided in more than 100 cases” (2).

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Neil Piper is an Auto ID expert and business consultant with over 25 years’ experience working predominantly in the retail and healthcare sectors. He is skilled in GS1 International Society of Blood Transfusion standards, barcode technologies (printing and scanning), radio frequency identification, electronic product code information services, and regulatory compliance (FMD, unique device identification, both FDA and EU medical devices regulation/in vitro diagnostic medical devices, UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency GS1 compliance, and more). Neil is currently redrafting Information Standards Board (ISB) 1077 and ISB 0108 standards to comply with NHS digital requirements. He has provided consultancy to numerous NHS trusts and pharmaceutical and medical device suppliers.
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