The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) today said that the discovery of a quantity of counterfeit medicines appears to be an isolated incident but that it would back a further tightening of the supply system for medicines.
The entire supply chain in the UK is regulated by the Government's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and all those concerned in it - from manufacturer to wholesaler to pharmacy - have to be licensed and are subject to regulation and inspection.
"This means that counterfeiting of medicines in the UK is extremely rare - this is only the fourth such case in the past 10 years - but, because patient safety is of paramount concern, it is important that the system is examined to see where it can be further tightened," said Dr Richard Barker, Director General of the ABPI.
"Two possible weak areas in the system are internet pharmacies, which often operate from centres outside the UK, and through parallel trading, where medicines are not only shunted backwards and forwards across Europe by the traders but are often opened up and repackaged.
"All medicines should reach the patient in the manufacturer's original packaging - product integrity must be maintained. The simpler the system, the less likely it is to provide opportunities for criminals."
For further information, please contact: ABPI Press Office 020 7747 1410