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WHO Must Work With Wide Range Of Partners To Establish, Enforce Laws Against Fake Medicines

STAT: Are we making progress in the fight against fake medicines?
Tim K. Mackey, associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; fellow at the WHO Collaborating Center for Governance, Accountability and Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Sector; director of health care research and policy at the University of California, San Diego, Extension; and director of the Global Health Policy Institute

“The World Health Organization report released [last] week showing that that one in 10 medications in low- and middle-income countries are either substandard or falsified is alarming. … Yet this report belies a far more complex and large-scale global health challenge, one that the WHO is not equipped to tackle on its own. … [T]rafficking falsified medicines is a crime against human health. That fact brings the limitations of the WHO front and center: It has no enforcement powers and has been reticent to partner more broadly with other stakeholders on the issue. … What we need is sustained and coordinated action, strengthening law enforcement, legal and judicial capacity, and long-term investment in anti-counterfeiting measures, pharmacovigilance, and leveraging advances in digital technology such as blockchain and machine learning for supply chain data provenance and analysis. These efforts to enhance the resilience of the global drug supply chain must be carried out by inclusive and genuine partnerships, with the WHO leading from a public health standpoint and openly partnering with other international organizations, such as the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization, and Interpol, to engage all sectors that can help in the fight against fake medical products…” (12/1).