01 November 2005

Online Pharmaceutical Counterfeiting: The Digital Threat...

Pharma healthcare companies all over the globe are working hard to identify counterfeit drugs and to put these criminals out of business. This operational risk strategy saves countless lives each year. The first article in a series on counterfeiting at CSO Online misses a key focus on the Internet Channel of Distribution. In order to pursue this growing threat, organizations must consider the use of real professionals to deter, detect, defend and document effectively in order to have a comprehensive anti-counterfeiting program.

The continuing growth of the Internet provides counterfeiters with ready access to unsuspecting consumers. Since goods purchased via the Internet are normally delivered through the conventional mail system, they frequently by-pass national regulations for the distribution of controlled goods.

The use of intelligent Internet surveillance with proprietary software, enables the detection of illicit distribution, trademark abuse, objectionable association and counterfeit activities, which can then be countered in a highly focused manner.

Authentix identifies client products on sale from suspect counterfeit sources, retrieves them anonymously and tests them for authenticity. In cases of minor misdemeanors they issue Cease & Desist letters for clients and monitor compliance. Where counterfeit or diverted product is retrieved, they support our clients through legal remediation by maintaining a documented chain of evidence.

All of the forensic markers and post testing due diligence will not stem the tide of bogus pharma web sites selling counterfeit drugs. An effective corporate risk intelligence process combines both the low tech (HUMINT) sources and the high tech methods (DIGITAL SURVEILLANCE) from a single entity. Only then will the data fusion and correlation of information allow for a legal, competent and rapid interdiction of this lethal threat.

Counterfeit medicines are a global scourge. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as much as 10 percent of the half-trillion-dollar pharmaceutical market is counterfeit. In some developing countries, more than half of the drug supply may be fake. Every year, thousands die from ingesting fake medicines, many of which have been produced in squalid conditions using ingredients such as boric acid and highway paint.

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