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Meds-on-a-Mission Blog: March 2020

AIMING to bring Healing . Health . Hope to Millions by Increasing AWARENESS of Fake Therapies & their Consequences, focusing on ADVOCACY and Partnerships to Address this Epidemic, while Supporting ACCESS to Effective and Affordable Medications.

March 2020: Each issue highlights events involving the ongoing challenges associated with the epidemic of fake medications worldwide, the efforts being taken to combat this epidemic, and efforts to increase access to safe and effective medications.

Click here for previous blogs


I. AWARENESS: These are the areas that highlight the prevalence, challenges, and consequences of taking fake, substandard, and illegal medications

Click Here for Previous Articles on Fake and Counterfeit Therapies


AFRICA

Dying for nothing as Africa’s deadly scourge of fake medicines worsens

After he was struck down by malaria and typhoid, Togolese tailor Ayawo Hievi thought he was set to recover when he started taking drugs prescribed by his doctor. But far from curing him, the medication he was given at the neighbourhood clinic made him far worse – eventually costing him one of his kidneys. The drugs were fake.


EUROPE

More than 150 arrests as European authorities clamp down on illegal medicine sales

A French and Finnish-led operation supported by more than a dozen other countries has resulted in the arrest of 165 people and the seizure of 8 million euros worth of illegal medicines


Europol notes ‘worrying trend’ in fake medicines

EU authorities seized €7.9 million ($8.9 million) worth of counterfeit medicines—including fake cancer drugs, antivirals, and erectile dysfunction medicines—as part of an operation carried out last year.


NORTH AMERICA

Canada warns of dangerous new ingredient in fake opioids

An ingredient more powerful than fentanyl has been discovered in counterfeit painkillers seized in Canada and the US, raising fears of a spike in overdose-related deaths. Police in Halifax, Nova Scotia found fake opioid pills laced with isotonitazene, a highly-potent novel opioid that has already been linked to overdose deaths in the US and Canada in recent months.


DEA Warns That Counterfeit Pills And Fentanyl Continue To Threaten Americans

Each year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration pools the knowledge of law enforcement agencies around the country to produce its National Drug Threat Assessment. This year, fentanyl, counterfeit prescription pills, and the pill presses are all listed as things that will continue to endanger American lives


After Four Prosecutions Over 16 Years, L.A. City Attorney Forces Fake Pharmacies To Close For Good

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has announced a permanent injunction to shut down four fake pharmacies. Over the last 16 years, their proprietors, the Dominguez family, received multiple citations and made several admissions of guilt.



II. ADVOCACY: Global advocacy, activities, and partnerships addressing the fake / counterfeit medication crisis and medication challenges


WHO selects fake meds among top 10 health challenges of 2020s

Expanding access to medicines, and fighting falsified and substandard drugs, is one of the World Health Organization’s top 10 urgent health challenges for the next 10 years.


WHO Guidance on Testing of “suspect” Falsified Medicines. WHO Technical Report Series, No. 1010, 2018, Annex 5

“Suspect” medicines can be divided into three main categories of products as follows: substandard medicines, unregistered/unlicensed medicines, and falsified medicines. This document deals specifically with products that are suspected to belong to the third category, i.e. “falsified” medical products.


AUSTRALIA

How to spot a counterfeit medicine

One of the tablets below is genuine. The other two are counterfeit. Can you tell which is the real medicine? When fake medicines infiltrate the supply chain, the only people who win are criminal profiteers. But as you can see from this example, it is not always easy to identify fraudulent medicines. Companies spend a lot of money and resources fighting imitation medicines, which, in turn, may lead to higher costs for the consumer.


EUROPE

Spotlight on experiences of medicine unavailability: Access to medicines challenges for NCDs and NTDs - The contrasting cases of Insulin and Praziquantel

Effective medicines exist to address leading global health challenges including Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) and Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD) however these are often unavailable and unaffordable. To date little literature exists comparing medicine unavailability across broad disease areas. See the results.


Interpol, Top Drug Makers to Fight Fake Medicines

Interpol on Tuesday announced a deal with the world's top pharmaceutical companies to fight fake drugs which threaten the health of millions, especially in poor countries.

Twenty-nine leading companies have pledged 4.5 million euros (US$5.9 million) over three years to improve the fight against the counterfeit industry, boost public awareness and crack down on illegal manufacturers.


Falsified Medicines Directive implementation toolkits

The Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) is a set of rules to protect people from fake medicines in the European Union (EU). It includes additional anti-tampering security on packaging, and tracking of medicines using a unique identifier, like a barcode.


NORTH AMERICA

Health subcommittee approves three bills

The Safeguarding Therapeutics Act, which Congressman Guthrie introduced with Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16), will give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to seize and destroy counterfeit medical devices and products such as vaccines and other combination devices that could seriously harm patients. The FDA currently has the authority to destroy counterfeit drugs, but not medical devices. Guthrie saw counterfeit devices firsthand at the International Mail Facility at John F. Kennedy Airport.


Facebook Bans Ads Promising A Cure To The Coronavirus

Facebook will begin taking down any ads that promise a cure for the coronavirus, as the platform battles the rapid spread of conspiracy theories and fake cures—including drinking bleach to cure the disease—that have erupted in panic and confusion over the epidemic on social media.



III. ACCESS: Entities making a difference by finding ways to provide safe and effective medications to all


5 billion people have access to medicine - 2 billion to go

The Access to Medicine Foundation stimulates and guides pharmaceutical companies to do more for the people living in low- and middle-income countries without access to medicine. The Access to Medicine Index shows the latest analysis of pharma action and how 20 pharmaceutical companies make medicines, vaccines and diagnostics more accessible for people in low- and middle-income countries.


ASIA

Improving access to medicines in the South-East Asia Region

Universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for health will be achieved in the South-East Asia Region only if there is significant improvement in access to medicines. This paper provides information about the current trends in access to medicines in the Region and identifies five practical areas where Member States and WHO can work together to improve the availability of medicines.


AUSTRALIA

Two new breakthrough melanoma treatments added to PBS

More than 2000 Australian suffering from advanced melanoma will soon receive financial relief with an expansion of treatments on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says.


EUROPE

Medicines Value Programme aims

The Medicines Value Programme has been set up to improve health outcomes from medicines and ensure we are getting the best value from the NHS medicines bill. See its aims and focus.


NORTH AMERICA

A detailed guide to the coronavirus drugs and vaccines in development

In the months since the novel coronavirus rose from a regional crisis to a global threat, drug makers large and small have scrambled to advance their best ideas for thwarting a pandemic. Here’s a guide to some of the most talked-about efforts to treat or prevent coronavirus infection, with details on the science, history, and timeline for each endeavor.


HIV Drug Giveaway Effort Gets Fresh Boost From Pharmacies

A franchise of over 3,300 independent pharmacies will dispense the HIV prevention drug donated by Gilead Sciences Inc. at no cost to the federal government, according to the Health and Human Services Department. The pharmacies which are part of Health Mart, a subsidiary of McKesson Corp., are joining CVS Health Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., and Rite Aid Corp. in their contribution, bringing the total participation to one-third of the nation’s pharmacies.


Merck says Ebola vaccine to be available at lowest access price for poor nations

The vaccine, Ervebo, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, a month after Europe gave its nod to the vaccine, a move that has been hailed by the World Health Organization.

MEDS ON A MISSION – We AIM to bring Healing . Health . Hope to Millions Through Increased AWARENESS of Fake Therapies & their Consequences, Continued Focus on ADVOCACY and Efforts to Address This Epidemic, and Identifying ACCESS opportunities to Effective and Affordable Medications. If you are aware of any efforts going on in these areas, please forward that information to medsonamission@gmail.com



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