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Conference on drug counterfeiting organised in Mumbai

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PatientSafe India addresses various aspects of drug counterfeiting and suggested creative ways to raise awareness and devise strategies to curb the practice

Usha Sharma- Mumbai

SynCore Consulting, in collaboration with Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), AIOCD, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA), Maharashtra FDA, trade bodies and consumer groups, recently organised PatientSafe India, a day-long conference on Drug Counterfeit Challenge in Mumbai. The conference addressed various aspects of drug counterfeiting and suggested creative ways to raise awareness and devise strategies to curb the practice of drug counterfeiting.

Sudarshan Jain, Vice President, OPPI and Managing Director, Healthcare Solutions, Abbott Healthcare delivered the inaugural speech. Omprakash Sadhwani- Joint Commissioner (HQ), Drugs Controller of Maharashtra, Food and Drugs Administration, Mumbai gave the keynote address while the special address was given by Dr K Bangarurajan, Deputy Drugs Drugs Controller (India).

The first panel discussion on ‘Collaboration among all stakeholders – key to combat counterfeiting’ was moderated by Vivek Padgaonkar, Director-Project and Policy, OPPI. Daara Patel – Secretary General, IDMA, in his session, emphasised about the work being done by IDMA. He recommended that if regulators, medical representatives, quality control stockists etc., work together, then the challenge of counterfeiting can be overcome.

Dr Jayesh Lele, President, IMA (Maharashtra) informed that the doctor fraternity is not aware about the work being carried out by pharma companies to improve the quality of medicines. He suggested that with the help of continuing medical education (CMEs) etc., pharma companies can educate doctors about spurious/ fake medicines.

Pointing out the possibility of increase in the number of counterfeit drugs through e-commerce channels, Vaijanath Jagushte, Treasurer, Maharashtra State Chemists and Druggists Association expressed his concerns about online pharmacies and the threat posed by them on patient safety. Today, there are more than 250 e-pharmacy sites and the numbers are going to increase.

Presenting the global perspective, Ajit Singh, Chairman, ACG Worldwide, informed that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 30 per cent of medicines across the globe are counterfeit. European Commission refers to them as falsified medicines instead

of counterfeit drugs. Counterfeit/falsified medicines are available across the world. The US FDA website has mentioned the actions being taken against US-based companies for not following regulatory standards. Hence, the issue does not only pertain to Indian companies, but also companies spread across the globe. Besides, he also discussed about modern printing technologies in packaging and their contribution in today’s world.

Dr Rao VSV Vadlamudi, President, IPA, shared details of the work being carried out by the association to educate patients. He said that IPA is trying to create an awareness among the patients and working with various regulators, patients, supply chain, besides providing education materials etc. The association has also prepared a model to fight against spurious/counterfeit medicines. Referring to Sadhwani’s message, he said that patients or caregivers need to reject counterfeit products and this can only happen if they are well informed/educated about counterfeits.

Patel, while discussing about the solutions to handle counterfeiting, said that we need to have strict protocols in place to choose the right packaging materials.

Bejon Misra, Founder and Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) India, talking on the sidelines of ‘Success Stories on patient safety, informed about the role of the supply chain while delivering safe medicines to the patients. He also mentioned that the solution is to work in participation and not in an isolation.

Kairus Dadachanji, Managing Director, Schott Kaisha, elaborated on the solutions provided by Schott Kaisha to its customers.

Sanjiv Navangul, Vice President, OPPI and Managing Director, Janssen India, stressed on the point that training regulators, medical representatives, quality control stockists etc should be our primary focus rather than educating the patients. It is our responsibility to make them informed and vigilant, he emphasised.

The second panel discussion was on ‘Redesigning drug manufacturing and its supply chain process to make it less vulnerable to counterfeiting.’ The panelists were Deepshikha Jakate, Site Quality Head, GSK; SM Mudda, Director Global Strategy (Technical) Micro Labs, Dr Firdosh Gardin, Head External Supply Operations, India Cluster, Novartis India; Sadhana Mogre, Director External Manufacturing, Sanofi India and Ameesh Masurekar, Director, AIOCD Pharmasofttech AWACS.

According to Javin Bhinde, Managing Director, SynCore Consulting, drug counterfeiting is one of the classic cases wherein the source of disruption lies way out of the area of influence of the manufacturer but there is a lot that manufacturers can do to dramatically limit the ability of drug counterfeiters to breach the boundaries of the legitimate supply chain.

More often than not, traditional supply chain designs offered many fundamental barriers to the flow of information to and from various touch points across the value chain. This combined with the intricate and highly complex nature of the downstream flow of materials made it a formidable task to have a real-time understanding of what was transpiring.

Information and its rapid availability can be a key lever in addressing the counterfeiting challenge.

In many cases, the very guiding principle of supply chain design. Traditional push-based supply chains attempted to address the slow and cumbersome flow of information back upstream from the markets by adopting a ‘High service level’ policy which dictated manufacturing and shipping substantial excess inventory maintained at various points across the supply chain. Not only does this put a severe strain on company profitability and increase business risk, but the added problem is that it substantially increases the slack in the system which increases the policing effort, delays detection and hinders visibility.

The conference also discussed topics like ‘fostering innovation in anti-counterfeiting management’ and ‘from brand protection to patient adherence’.

Express Pharma was the media partner for the event.

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