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A major global issue, the counterfeiting of medicinal products has reached an unprecedented scale in recent years, with one in ten medicines sold in low- to middle-income countries now falsified or substandard according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates. Faced with this situation, efforts to combat this trade are being stepped up.

The falsification of medicines…

is first and foremost a serious threat to public health and a danger to patients, with products found to contain, for example, no drug substances, the wrong drug substances, the wrong strengths, impurities, toxic substances, etc. The expected standards of quality, efficacy, and safety are not met. These products can cause major adverse reactions and complications – not just individually but also collectively, with the development of resistance.

Scanning a medicine box to verify authenticity

A word from …

BÉATRICE BIHR, Executive Vice President General Secretariat

The activity of counterfeit medicines is a worldwide curse which can be found across all therapeutic categories. This trafficking of falsified medicinal products threatens the health of patients and our health systems directly. As a global healthcare player, it is also our role at Servier to continue to participate in the fight against fake medicines, as we have been doing for more than 15 years.

Key figures

100%

of therapeutic areas are concerned by counterfeit medicines (WHO – 2017)

10%

of the medicines distributed in developing countries are falsified or substandard (WHO – 2017)

96%

of online pharmacies worldwide are illegal (LegitScript – January 2016)

1,7Mrd

billion euros: the estimated cost of the loss of income resulting from the sale of fake medicines for EU governments

x4

the number of people buying medicines online in the United States has been multiplied by 4 in less than 10 years

96%

of all customs seizures of counterfeit pharmaceutical products between 2014 and 2016 concerned packages sent by post or express courier

For several years, Servier has been actively involved in the fight against fake medicines and has put effective arrangements in place around three pillars:

Picture of a Servier employee checking the compliance of a drug

DETECTING FAKE MEDICINES AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE BY MOBILIZING A RANGE OF RESOURCES TO COLLECT INFORMATION ON SUSPICIOUS PRODUCTS, INCLUDING:

  • In-house programs and processes to rapidly detect and address suspected cases of fake medicines
  • A dedicated team, based in Suresnes, France (headquarters), and China
  • Monitoring of the internet and the market to identify and prevent the sale of fake / counterfeit medicines
  • Applications for action with customs authorities
  • A database centralizing cases and pooling information

PREVENTING – THE GROUP COMPLIES WITH THE RELEVANT REQUIREMENTS OF MEDICINE TRACEABILITY AND IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS, WHILE PUTTING IN PLACE ITS OWN MEASURES AND PROGRAMS TO IDENTIFY FAKE MEDICINES, SUCH AS:

  • Stronger serialization and additional safety and authentication systems for packaging (Securistamp, Matrix program)
  • Training programs for law enforcement authorities worldwide (customs, police, regulatory agencies, national health authorities, courts); for all new arrivals at the head office; and locally in several countries;
  • Events to build awareness through communication campaigns, including with front-line partners (distributors and pharmacies)

TAKING PROACTIVE ACTION BY SETTING UP COLLABORATION ON SEVERAL LEVELS:

between pharmaceutical companies through associations (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), G5 Santé, etc.), with law enforcement authorities (participation in joint operations with Interpol, the World Customs Organization and Europol) and with national health authorities, as well as with other stakeholders such as online platforms.

Alongside this, the Group is involved in developing innovative analyses (authenticating digital label, near-infrared (NIR) model, etc.), thanks to its dedicated teams at its Gidy industrial site (Orléans – France) and its Technologie Servier (TES) laboratory, which uses the latest technologies to analyze boxes of suspicious medicines identified around the world.

2 partners shaking hands

In case of doubts or questions

A single link to report suspected cases

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