Wednesday, May 18, 2016

This Looks Like A Pretty Reasonable Suggestion To Me. The Issue Is Would Consumers Use A Register Like This.

The following appeared last week:

Online pharmacy “safe list” needed

Charlotte Mitchell
Monday, 9 May, 2016
WITH only a minority of online pharmacies considered legitimate, experts are now debating how to address the growing problem of substandard and counterfeit medications.
Dr Conor Hensey from the Department of General Medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne told MJA InSight that Australia must set up a safe list of online pharmacies to help protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit drugs.
“This way, consumers would have easy, reliable access to a list of authorised websites and be able to refer to this resource prior to purchasing medications online.”
“Globally, there are about 36 000 active internet pharmacies, of which less than 5% are estimated to be legitimate,” the authors wrote.
In Australia, the drugs bought online are often lifestyle medications targeted at weight loss, hair growth or erectile dysfunction.
“There have been recent reports in Australia of these medications being contaminated with sulfonylureas and sibutramine with significant adverse effects,” Dr Hensey and his coauthors wrote.
The authors urged Australians to be vigilant to the risk of unregulated online pharmacies, and to develop clear guidelines for monitoring, regulation and education.
A spokesperson for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) told MJA InSight that they acknowledged the seriousness of the problem of counterfeit and substandard medicines at home and internationally.
“The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1% of medicines available in the developed world, and 10% globally, are likely to be counterfeit.
“The globalisation of markets has made the distribution of medicines easier, with people having direct access to medicines via the internet without the need for consultation with a health professional.”
More here:
There is some coverage from a pharmacy perspective here:

Online pharmacies: Australia needs ‘safe list’

Substandard and counterfeit medicines, and online pharmacies which aren’t legitimate, are a serious and growing problem, say experts.

Australia needs to set up a “safe list” of online pharmacies in a bid to protect consumers from potentially dangerous medicines, says Dr Conor Hensey from the Department of General Medicines at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, in MJA InSight.
Dr Hensey says that this would allow consumers easy, reliable access to a list of authorised online pharmacies, which they could refer to before buying medicines online.
Dr Hensey co-authored a report published this week in the MJA, examining the Australian perspective on counterfeit drugs.
“In countries with stringent legislation, governance and customs, such as Australia, the prevalence of counterfeit medications is low and estimated by the World Health Organization to be less than 1% of market value,” he and co-author Amanda Gwee write.
“Substandard medications are a greater issue globally, with reduced efficacy and potential for contamination. All may have serious and unpredictable risks.”
Less than 5% of the world’s 36,000 active internet pharmacies are considered to be legitimate, they write.
In the US and European Union, consumers can access lists of authorised websites, such as LegitScript and the EU common logo. However, in Australia, there are no such protections.
Australia needs to take several steps to protect consumers, they write.
  • “All Australian online pharmacies should be accredited through the Quality Care Pharmacy Program. From this, the TGA in conjunction with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia should release a safe list of Australian online pharmacies.
  • Public awareness campaigns should utilise NPS MedicineWise and Australian “Prescriber — resources widely accessed by consumers, pharmacists and prescribers.
  • “The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service should continue to work with global agencies to optimise the identification of counterfeit medications.”
More here:
I have to say my feeling is that most people who are going online overseas for medicines (other than those seeking treatments for things like cancer which are not available in Australia) should really be discouraged from doing so as the risks of getting fakes etc. are just too high. You can see just how many fake suppliers there are simply by looking at the e-mails caught by your spam filter.
In Australia there are some reputable suppliers of licenced medicines and there is no reason the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) should not maintain an on-line list.
I find it just too silly that the TGA says it is a State problem and that they can’t regulate or help. Grow up guys!
David.

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