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New tools in the fight against counterfeit drugs

counterfeit drugs initiativeA recent innovation from an India-based company aims to protect people from counterfeit drugs and makes it as easy as sending a text message or scanning a bar code. So far, 300 million pharmaceutical packages — both prescription and over-the-counter — have been imprinted with information that consumers can use to check a product’s authenticity, which they can do through PharmaSecure’s VerifyMyMedicine. The service allows users to send a text message with an alphanumeric code printed on the drug packaging to find out whether it’s legit. This can also be done over the phone by customer service, or through a new mobile app that uses bar code scanning to verify the drugs. More than 10 manufacturers in India have participated in the initiative, and U.S. drugmakers including GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer plan to follow suit, according to the Times of India. With counterfeits making up 20%-35% of the drugs on the market in India, this is an important tool to keep those drugs from harming the public.