Fight the Fakes: ´Making each dose count´
On Saturday 21st July 2018, IAPO member Mary Lynne Van Poelgeest-Pomfret of World Federation of Incontinent Patients represented IAPO and the Fight the Fakes campaign at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam at the Imperial Health Sciences’ Pre-Conference Side-Event. Here she joined a multi-stakeholder panel within which a stimulating discussion took place around the topic of patient-level transparency in the delivery of antiretrovirals therapies in Sub-Saharan Africa with a focus on the importance of patient empowerment in regards to quality and security of supply.
Mary Lynne shares her main takeaways and reflections from the event.
This topic places itself at the top of the advocacy agendas of many patients’ organizations, including IAPO, as the need to fight fake medicines and speak up about the threats that fake medicines pose to patients all around the world is key if we are to achieve quality healthcare.
Host and organizer, Imperial Logistics, a healthcare supply chain management organization, as well as a pharmaceutical wholesaler and distribution company committed to combating the public health threats that stem from fake and substandard medicine, wanted to showcase the critical role being played by logistics and supply chain management in winning the war against HIV/AIDS and counterfeit medicines. A significant goal of the events was to enhance and reinforce people’s understanding of the magnitude of the challenges and the undeniable responsibility that we all have to respond towards substandard and falsified medicines.
The main question was why would patients want to advocate against fake medicines? Fake medicines can affect anyone.
The issue of falsified and substandard medicines really is a major global public health issue and one which I, like many others, had greatly underestimated. Fake medicines put patients and the general public at risk. They trick patients into believing they are receiving genuine treatment, when instead they are getting deceitful products that could cause further illness, disability or even death. Fake medicines are also a major factor in resistance to real medicines. The pills or solutions contain no active ingredient, wrong ingredient or wrong dose. They contain dangerous substances including, to my horror and disbelief, tar and antifreeze. They certainly do not contain what we, the general public, think they do in as much as the packaging, shape and colour is the same.
Imperial Logistics clearly highlighted that winning the war on fake medicines hinges on efficient healthcare supply chains and logistics partners who can ensure product security, as well as quality assured processes and controls. Imperial Logistics’ commitment to supplying sustainable, affordable and quality medicines to the people of Africa is reflected in the 43 million patient packs a month delivered by this supply chain.
However, fake Medicines is everybody´s business. Counterfeiters have literally made it their business and so now is the time to make it our business too. This for me was and is a wakeup call which I will definitely embrace and promote. Let´s sound the alarm bells so that we at IAPO can all contribute to fighting the fakes.
What is the Fight the Fakes Campaign?
Fight the Fakes is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of fake medicines. The campaign gives a voice to those who have been personally impacted and shares the stories of those working to put a stop to this threat to public health. It seeks to build a global movement of organizations and individuals who will shine light on the negative impact that fake medicines have on people around the globe and to reduce the negative consequences on individuals worldwide. Fight the Fakes campaign is the first campaign to address the issue of responsibility from the beginning to the end of the pharmaceutical supply chain, by involving and coordinating stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds.
To learn more about the campaign, visit: fightthefakes.org/