Role of Generic Medicines on the Proliferation of Counterfeit Medicines

by Daniele Aiello
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Role of Generic Medicines on the Proliferation of Counterfeit Medicines
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Daniele Aiello
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Because of the lack of resources on some developing countries, most people resort to generic medicines which cost less than branded drugs. Moreover, many third world nations have no capacities and capabilities for pharmaceutical manufacturing which forces even authorities to allow generic copies of medicines to penetrate the market. Generic competition is one of the driving factors on the cost and quality reduction in many countries.

As defined by the Peterson Group, non-profit organization campaigning against proliferation of counterfeit medicines, generic medicines are pharmaceutical copies of drugs which are manufactured without license from the innovator companies and marketed after the expiry date of the patented or other exclusive rights. It is public obligation that the government provides affordable and legitimate medicine functions, however, with the incapability to find good resources, many governments fail in this respect.

Generic medicines are not entirely fraudulent per se but are mostly substandard.  Nonetheless, the threat can still be bona fide with what many health professions fear of: circumvention of health regulation, undercutting public confidence, and potentially providing a comparatively easy source of income to criminal elements.

Firstly, health regulations are mostly underrated on generic pharmacies starting from the fact that issuance of prescription are often ignored and neglected. Added to this fact is that generic pharmacies often employ unlicensed pharmacists who do not have enough knowledge on medical terminologies and lexicons.

The second main concern of authorities is that generic pharmacies may undercut public confidence. Faith and trust placed on medicine for safety and proper health treatment implementation is put into question. Even branded medicines being sold in generic pharmacies are doubted to be substandard.

Furthermore, patronization to legitimate medicines has dropped dramatically in the recent years. According to reviews, the cost and effectiveness of genuine medicines are discarded as mere marketing stance by most pharmaceutical companies as loyalties shift to generics which cost less and promise the same effects.

Lastly, generic medicines pave an easier way for criminal counterfeiting. 

Recent seizures of drug shipments in one of the hidden ports in outer Jakarta area in Indonesia have sparked concern that efforts to control counterfeits are a smokescreen to curb the sale of generics in the archipelago. Officials claimed generic drugs were counterfeit, placing efforts to adopt and enforce anti-counterfeit legislation in domestic laws as well as in bilateral and multilateral agreements into jeopardy.

 

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