Counterfeit Oncology Medicines, Antibiotics Hit Mexican Market
The Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) published a sanitary alert warning of counterfeit oncological and antibiotic treatments, which can cause serious health effects and even death.
After sanitary surveillance and several complaints from Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), COFEPRIS alerted of 10 falsified batches of Opdivo (Nivolumab), an oncological medicine. The counterfeit units lack BMS’s logo and sanitary registration. The packages also contain phrases in English, warned COFEPRIS.
The commission also identified a counterfeit batch of Meropenem after Pisa Laboratorios presented a complaint demanding surveillance. This drug is exclusively used in the public health sector.
COFEPRIS wants patients, health professionals, pharmacies and institutions to stay away from these false products to prevent medication-related injuries or death. The Commission emphasized that its sanitary alert does not apply to all units, only to the false batches that were identified and can be found in its site.
According to WHO, one in 10 medical products in low and middle income is substandard or falsified. In the case of antimicrobial medication, these counterfeit products can cause antimicrobial resistance and lead to drug resistant infections. The last alert on falsified medical products by WHO was published on Mar. 9, 2022, when the organization found two falsified batches of DESREM Remdesivir for Injection 100mg/vial in the Americas. As supply chains become more complex, the risk of acquiring falsified products increases, as a medicine can be manufactured in one country, packaged in another and distributed across borders, as reported by WHO. E-commerce also increases the risk of buying falsified products.
Supply chain experts have suggested to governments to promote legislation that forces companies to implement traceability in their supply chains so consumers can be confident of the legitimacy of the medicines they take. The integration of IoT in the supply chain can save lives.
Barcodes, for example, can help track medical products throughout the entire manufacturing and delivery process, explains GS1 Mexico. “This means that every actor throughout the supply chain has traceability and control, increasing the efficiency and visibility that are essential for the health sector,” said Alejandra Arozamena, Leader, GS1 Mexico, to MBN.