The Partnership for Safe Medicines
Weekly UpdateMay 17, 2010
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Anti-counterfeiting Initiative: Promoting the Quality of Medicines

As incidents and awareness surrounding illicit and counterfeit drugs grows, so too do the programs and technologies to combat them.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be examining just that: anti-counterfeit technologies and the programs designed to support them. While there's no silver bullet technology or program to mitigate the global threat of counterfeit drugs, a combination of technologies, programs and laws to protect patients and punish criminals is needed to help reduce this hazard to public health.

The Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) program is one initiative deserving of mention. This cooperative effort between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP) was developed in late 2009.

The goal of the PQM program is to improve the safety of medicines in 28 countries across the globe by working with regulatory agencies, increasing the supply of legitimate products, reducing the availability of counterfeits through testing and other methods, and increasing public awareness about the dangers of counterfeit medicines.

According to the USP's statement on the partnership, the PQM program will build upon the work of the Drug Quality and Information (DQI) program, which was successful in:

  • Establishing the first large-scale continuous drug monitoring program in Africa, Asia and Latin America
  • Increasing capacity to address gaps in Asia's quality assurance of medicines
  • Helping the Global Drug Facility in efforts to increase the availability of anti-tuberculosis medicines at affordable prices

The PQM program aims to expand on these activities in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

When asked about the value of programs like PQM, the Partnership for Safe Medicines President (PSM) Marv Shepherd said, "We've said many times that collaboration at the international level is essential to combating this very real threat from which no country is immune."

Referencing the counterfeit antimalarials that came to a DQI sentinel site last July, Shepherd added, "We've seen how cooperatives like the PQM program can reduce the risk of patient contact with counterfeit drugs, through drug monitoring and public awareness."

The global reach of counterfeit drugs will be one key issue discussed at the PSM's 2010 Interchange on Oct. 8, 2010, which will bring together patient groups, health care providers, industry experts, enforcement personnel, policymakers and regulatory experts.

You can learn more about the PQM program at
Top News

Industry Experts Back WHO's Role in Fighting Counterfeit Drugs


The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) just unveiled its principles on fighting counterfeit drugs. Within the principles, the IFPMA affirms the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in leading the international effort against counterfeit medicines. These principles are released among concern by some over WHO's involvement in issues pertaining to counterfeit drugs. Haruo Naito, president of the IFPMA, said that the industry group is "ready to be an active partner in WHO-led efforts, including IMPACT." Support for IMPACT was echoed by Thomas Kubic, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, who pointed out that the number of counterfeit medicine incidents worldwide rose almost 7 per cent in 2009. ("IFPMA backs WHO to lead anti-counterfeit fight," Securing Pharma, May 12, 2010; Story here)

World News

Europe: Members of Parliament Crack Down on Counterfeit Drugs 

Lifestyle drugs, cancer drugs, anti-malarials and painkillers are frequently purchased on the Internet but, unfortunately, they are often counterfeit when they come from online sources. Members of the European Parliament recently voted in favor of new mandatory safety rules for medicines in general, including internet sales, to reduce the number of counterfeit drugs in the EU. Said one member, Françoise Grossetête of France, "I regret that the regime is not as tough on drugs as [on] food. For example, we authorize the repackaging of medicine but they can't repackage a package of pasta." In the future any website wanting to sell drugs online in the EU will face stricter regulation and have to be listed on a European database along with carrying an EU logo. ("Parliament Takes Action Against Counterfeit Medicines In Europe," GovMonitor, May 9. 2010; Story here)

Taiwan: President Pledges to Fight Counterfeits

President Ma Ying-jeou, attending a seminar at the Anping Industrial Zone in Tainan about his proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China, said the government must crack down on counterfeit goods from China. The government has launched a crackdown against counterfeit drugs, and especially against the propagation of the counterfeits by underground radio stations. Taiwanese manufacturers fear that cheap, substandard goods from China will flood Taiwan's market and drive them out of business, causing a rise in unemployment. ("Ma promises to tackle counterfeit goods from China," Taiwan News, May 6, 2010; Story here)


5th Annual Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Strategies (Philadelphia, PA)

When: Monday, May 24, 2010

Where: Philadelphia, PA


Global Trade of Counterfeit Medicines in the Developing World

When: Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where: Washington D.C.

Keynote Address: "A Safe Medicines Chest for the World: Preventing Substandard Products from Tainting India's Pharmaceuticals" by Dr. Roger Bate (Fellow, American Enterprise Institute)


The Drug Information Association 46th Annual Meeting

When: Sunday, Jun 13, 2010

Where: Washington D.C.

Description: Link here


5th Global Pharma Manufacturing Summit

When: Monday, Jun 14, 2010

Where: Boston, MA

Description: Link here


Global Pharma Authentication

When: Monday, Jun 14, 2010

Where: Munich, Germany

Description: Link here


4th Annual Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting Strategies Conference

When: Tuesday, Sep 7, 2010

Where: London, UK

Description: Link here

PSM's Inaugural 2010 Interchange
When: Friday, Oct 8, 2010
Where: Washington, D.C.
Description: The Partnership for Safe Medicines invites you to save the date for an intimate conference bringing together patient groups, providers, pharmaceutical company quality experts, enforcement personnel, policymakers, regulatory agency experts and other interested parties to discuss key issues around counterfeit drugs and other unsafe medicines. Link here.
About the Partnership for Safe Medicines
The Partnership for Safe Medicines is a group of organizations and individuals that have policies, procedures, or programs to protect consumers from counterfeit or contraband medicines. For more information, please visit