Brussels in new push to fight drug counterfeiting

11th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

European Commission proposes reforms to the pharmaceutical sector to tackle drug counterfeiting.

BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a raft of reforms to the pharmaceutical sector to tackle drug counterfeiting and give Europeans better information about the medicine they are taking.

"We wish to restore the EU's traditional role as the pharmacy of the world," EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said.

"Everything we are suggesting today builds on the needs and interests of patients. European citizens should benefit from safe, innovative and accessible medicines."

Under the proposals, which must be agreed by member states, consumers will be provided information on medicines on websites or in specialist health publications.

On the safety and counterfeit drugs front, some drugs would be sold with a special "safety feature", perhaps individual product codes which could be traced from producer to patient or seals which reveal any opening of the pack.

Another proposed safety measure is improving transparency and communication on a medicine's "safety issues" to increase "the understanding and trust of patients," the commission said in a statement.

The commission's package was significantly different form Verheugen's original proposals which were tilted more in favour of the pharmaceutical industry.

There were concessions to companies which resell prescription drugs, so-called parallel traders, who exploit price differences among EU member states.

The earlier version of the package included a repackaging ban which has now been dropped.

The parallel traders will instead be made to explain their system to patients, and may not break seals or open packs or bottles containing medicines.


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