Fake medicines found in NHS supply chain

Pharmacists are calling for tighter legal controls to reduce the risk of patients in the UK being given fake medicines.

Fake medicines in NHS
Fake medicines in NHS

A report from the School of Pharmacy , in London, points to new figures from the WHO showing that 30 per cent of medicines supplied in developing countries are fake.

In eastern European countries the proportion is 10 per cent, while in wealthier areas such as the UK less than 1 per cent of medicines supplied are counterfeits.

But of the 25 new UK cases being investigated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory, three involve fake treatments being supplied via the legal NHS medicines supply chain.

Professor David Taylor, author of the Trick or Treat report, said: ‘Compared to the harm done by medicines counterfeiting in Africa and Asia, Europe is relatively safe.

‘But there are growing risks which will get worse if, for example, people believe that they cannot get new medicines that may benefit them for conditions such as cancer, dementia or influenza from publicly funded services.’

The School of Pharmacy report calls for stronger legal penalties for medicine counterfeiting, greater freedom of regulated medicines information provision in Europe, and better controls over internet pharmacy and medicines trading.

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