Burton pharmaceutical giant joins fight against counterfeit drugs

Steve Glass

Clinigen Group, the global pharmaceutical and services company based in Burton-on-Trent, has become a full member of the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines (EAASM) and the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy in the EU (ASOP EU). Both organisations aim to protect patients from the dangers of falsified or counterfeit drugs.

EAASM and ASOP are independent, not-for-profit organisations promoting patient safety and improved access to the right medicines across Europe.

A key focus in tackling this threat is educating patients and healthcare professionals of the dangers of internet pharmacies. Although legitimate in appearance, internet pharmacies are often unethical. They knowingly sell substandard, falsified or counterfeit medicines and drugs that are untested and unapproved, or even banned in a patient’s own country. The vast majority do not require a prescription to supply a prescription-only drug, many of which can be dangerous and pose a serious health risk if self-prescribed.

Access to the right medicine is not just a European issue – it is also global crisis, with 80% of the world’s population – an estimated 5.5 billion people – experiencing low or non-existent access to medicines, many of which are essential.

Steve Glass, group managing director at Clinigen, said: “As the global market leaders in providing trusted access to unlicensed medicines to meet unmet medical need, we share many common goals with the EAASM and ASOP. Healthcare professionals and patients worldwide face major challenges in guaranteeing safe access to the medicines they need. Clinigen is committed to raising the standards of access to and supply of drugs in both clinical trial and unlicensed medicines, becoming the trusted source of genuine product. Our Global Access division is proud to be able to support the EAASM and ASOP in their valuable work to protect and educate patients across Europe about the dangers of counterfeit medicines.”

Mike Isles, executive director EAASM and ASOP EU, added: “The EAASM and ASOP EU are pleased to welcome Clinigen as members and partners in the fight to rid the global supply chain of counterfeit and sub-standard medicines and to promote access to safe medicines within Europe and beyond. To succeed, we must engage with all stakeholders to ensure a coordinated, collaborative approach to raise awareness of this criminal activity. It is great to have the expertise of a market leader like Clinigen committed to helping us in this mission.”

It is estimated that of the 331,430 health related websites that are monitored – 35,610 of which being active internet pharmacies – 94.3% do not operate legally.