Pharma companies step up campaign against spurious drugs

Multi-national pharma companies have intensified their efforts to prevent sale of spurious medicines in the market. The companies are fighting against the menace of spurious drugs through laboratory tests, improved packaging and awareness drives among consumers.

For example, Sanofi is collecting and analysing product samples from around the world including India at its specialised laboratory in France. Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India is setting up an anti counterfeiting cell and plans to collaborate  with other pharma bodies and government agencies.

"We have a strategy to fight and prevent counterfeiting and have devised proactive detection plan," said Dominique Woloch, Sanofi's regional security director. The French pharma major has a team of 80 officers globally in anti counterfeiting role.

He likened the counterfeiting menace to organised crime with gangs operating across borders. During last several months Woloch and his team has seized millions of spurious products in raids. Apart from laboratory tests Sanofi is working on product protection strategies, training of medical representatives and awareness campaign against spurious medicines.

Pharma industry in India has been slow to adopt track and trace measures like bar coding on packages but now companies are getting more responsive.  "Initially companies have been slow to act against counterfeiting to avoid  bad publicity and extra costs.  But now the trend is changing.  Companies are realising that  investing in anti counterfeiting solutions can prevent revenue loss and thus make up for the extra costs," said Ajit Singh, chairperson of ACG Worldwide, a pharma manufacturing and packaging solutions provider.

Abbott has put in place an SMS authentication scheme for customers. Those buying its Duphaston tablets can message the batch number to the firm for product verification purpose.  

Also Abbot has improved the packaging for Duphaston tablets with a hologram and micro-embossing the product name on cartons, industry sources said.

Cipla, PE firm Fidelity sign investment pact

Private equity firm Fidelity Growth Partners has signed an agreement with Cipla for investing in its consumer healthcare business. The drug maker has  informed the stock exchange about the pact.

Cipla did not disclose the amount which will be invested by Fidelity Growth Partners in its consumer health subsidiary. The investment is subject to approvals from FIPB and CCI.

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