Pharmacists and doctors: the principal guardians of the healthcare system
Our healthcare systems are founded on two mainstays:
- The knowledge of the healthcare professionals behind it (doctors, pharmacists, nurses, distributors and producers, etc.);
- The trust of the patients who place their health and their lives in the hands of the professionals.
If the first is shaken, the second totters, and the whole building crumbles.
And that is exactly what the traffickers of falsified medicines are doing: discrediting the knowledge of healthcare professionals to undermine the foundation of that trust. By breaking down the fortress of our healthcare systems through trickery, lies and deception, these criminals can then freely produce and sell their falsified products, and it is this all-powerful trust which makes it so easy for them.
That is why healthcare professionals are the guardians of any healthcare system: it is not just a matter of trust: it is the lives of those who place that trust in us.
Daily vigilance for all
At IRACM this is our constant message: while all the players in our healthcare systems share the responsibility, it is especially up to each and every individual. Here, it is not diminished by numbers. Because they assert their sense of responsibility in the daily exercise of their profession, healthcare professionals all over the world are trained in this vigilance. It must take several forms:
- A technical intelligence process: For any type of medicine, pharmacists and doctors must pay heed to all the elements which might point to a counterfeit: an alteration in the appearance of a medicine (size, colour, shape or taste), its texture (for example, pills that are more friable), its packaging, any unusual side effects or the lack of efficacy of a treatment. They are also encouraged to know and regularly check the traceability methods and authentication procedures for healthcare products (Data Matrix codes, RFID marking, holograms, etc.).
- A public awareness platform: Individually, day after day, healthcare professionals have the authority to inform patients about the very real threat linked to fake medicines. Their task is also to alert them to the risks they would be taking by buying the prescribed treatments in pharmacies in unauthorised distribution channels.
- A duty to inform: As in all other professional fields, healthcare professionals are encouraged to inform themselves regularly about the security of the health system, any weaknesses in that security and the means available to help make it as reliable as possible.
This section of our website is intended to help you specifically in each of these tasks. It addresses the theoretical aspects (definitions, anti-counterfeiting laws, etc.) and the practical aspects (e-pharmacies, parallel importations, etc.) of the falsification of medicines and healthcare products. It gives regular updates on the technology available to curb this traffic.
This section is written for you. Consult it regularly.