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Combating counterfeit medication:

How do you know if the medication that you are taking is not counterfeit? That is a big question that rarely anyone asks when they are taking prescribed medication, especially for people who purchase medication online and, it is one that is being addressed by the EU with the Falsified Medicine Directive 2011/62/EU.

According to the World Health Organisation, worldwide sales of counterfeit drugs are in excess of $75 billion annually and more than 50% of medication and pharmaceuticals purchased online are falsified. This leaves huge risks to people’s health as counterfeit medication can have lethal ingredients. 

How will the regulation work?

The new regulation will require the placing of safety features on the packaging of certain medicinal products, allowing for their identification and authentication. The two safety features required will consist of a unique identifier (UI), a unique sequence carried by a 2D barcode allowing the identification and authentication of the individual pack on which it is printed and an anti-tampering device (ATD) allowing the verification of whether the packaging of the medicinal product has been tampered or not (not relevant for GS1 but regulated under CEN). This new regulation will come into effect on the 9th February 2019 to give time for pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospital and pharmacies to prepare for the change.

Major benefits:

Patient will be guaranteed that the medication that they receive will be non-counterfeit medication ensuring safety of patients. It will reduce counterfeit medication being made as it would be harder for to forgery to happen.