Generic Paxil Suicide Lawsuit

Citizens Commission on Human Rights Award Recipient (Twice)
Humanist, humorist

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Counterfeit Drugs - I'm worried.. YOU should be too

I recently asked the MHRA (under the FOI Act) a question regarding counterfeit drugs here in the UK.

Back in March I watched a documentary called The Fake Trade. I was quite aghast at the ease that fake drugs can reach our shelves. It prompted me to read up about this serious problem. First stop was the MHRA website.

From there I learned that there had been nine known reported cases where fake drugs have reached pharmacy and patient levels. This may seem a low number but if you think that those nine reported cases had reached just nine patients then that is nine too many. However, the number of patients that may have taken these counterfeit drugs is far greater than nine. Far greater!

This from the Daily Mirror:

There have been nine known cases of fake medicine being sold in the UK, which doesn't sound like much of a problem until it's explained that with each case representing 100,000 doses, the number of fake prescription drugs winding up on UK chemists' shelves is more like 900,000.

That's almost one million. Quite a problem I think you would agree.

So, I wrote the MHRA with the following question:

1. There have been nine known reported cases where fake drugs have reached pharmacy and patient levels. Approx how many patients administered these fake drugs?

The MHRA have recently answered:

Dear Mr. Fiddaman,

In response to your request under the Freedom of Information Act, the following information can be provided.

As correctly stated, since August 2004 counterfeit medicines have been discovered in the UK regulated supply chain and recalled on nine occasions.

It is not known how many of these counterfeit products reached the market and therefore it is impossible to calculate the number of patients affected.

Kind Regards,
Central Enquiry Point

Impossible to answer?

This is quite a problem and the MHRA reply to a very serious question with 'impossible to answer'

I have wrote back. I'm not particularly happy about this. You shouldn't be either.

Dear MHRA,

Thank you for the reply. I feel this needs to be followed up.

I don't know whether or not you are aware but I am trying to 'mend bridges' between the MHRA and myself.

May I say that the answer you gave in reply to my FOI request appears to be less than caring.

Why do you not know approx how many patients were affected by these counterfeit drugs?

What efforts were made to try an ascertain how many patients may have been affected by these counterfeit drugs?

What measures are put in place to estimate how many patients could be affected by counterfeit drugs?

Surely there must be some sort of plan? If not, why?

Do the public need to be concerned if any counterfeit drugs make it to the shelves in the future? If not, then can you allay their fears?

When you state the words '...impossible to calculate the number of patients affected', it sounds to me as you do not wish to make any efforts to try? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?


Bob Fiddaman

Seroxat Sufferers

Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal

By Bob Fiddaman

ISBN: 978-1-84991-120-7



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