The second and final day of Systech’s 2015 Uniquity Global Conference began with a cautionary tale, narrated by Mark Davison, author of Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting. As the title of his book might suggest, he engaged his readers with discussions on global counterfeiting and best practices.
Mark revealed that counterfeiters do not duplicate things exactly when they are making a prescription, OTC, medical device, or any other type of counterfeited product. These counterfeits are not identical copies of the original. Furthermore, these deviations from the original product—particularly in the pharmaceutical industry—do, in fact, kill people.
Not only is the risk of encountering “phony drugs” much higher outside of the U.S., but it is substantially higher if drugs are purchased online. Mark recapped one particular study wherein 62% of drugs purchased online were fake or substandard. Furthermore, almost 96% of online pharmacies were operating illegally. And, according to statistics from the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which Mark referenced in his presentation, 122,350 deaths have been associated with poor-quality medications, most of which occurred among African children—who are, globally, the most affected by counterfeits.
Counterfeits can occur in all classes and therapeutic areas, and present in a variety of ways. It is not strictly medicines—be they prescription or OTCs—that are counterfeited, but medical devices such as syringes as well. Speaking of which, one thing I found particularly alarming was the fact that not only are counterfeits created from scratch in attempts to impersonate the original product, but counterfeiters have also gone to the breadth and depth of dumpsters outside of hospitals wherein they collect used syringes with the sole purpose of repackaging and reselling them to unsuspecting consumers.
At the end of his presentation, Mark discussed different strategies and methods to strengthen a company’s security to fight the good fight against counterfeiting. He concluded with the following statement: “Serialization is legally necessary but NOT sufficient to protect consumers.”
In another discussion on safety—though, this one was tailored specifically to company safety and cloud security—Darryl Brown named Amazon as the most secure computer system in the world at present. He said that one of the easiest ways for hackers to access information from a company’s cloud database is not through penetrating the cloud platform directly, but for them to acquire your username and password.
For more information about this year’s Uniquity conference, go to: SystechOne.com/Uniquity-2015.