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Last Updated:[09-03-2010 07:39:46 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

UK Illicit Pharma Exports to Expand If Gov Actions Fail

tradenews The recent emergency meeting summoned by the UK Health Minister Mike O'Brien with the trade bodies to condemn and act against the parallel drug trade may become a lip service if the government fails to implement its action plan. Though government has enunciated stern action against the perpetrators who were selling the allotted medicines for higher prices in lucrative markets, the people are concerned whether these get enforced as the pharma industry wielded more clout.

National Health Services (NHS) which are often blamed to show apathy towards patient-care by making patients wait even during emergencies was in the spotlight last month while the Royal Surrey County hospital admitted that it bought the NHS drugs cheap to sell at a profit in Europe. The foundation hospital last year continued with its trade in millions of pounds worth of drugs intended for the NHS to Europe, ignoring government warnings.

The weak pound value and sourcing of medicines at low prices are cited as contributing factors for the parallel drug trade. By diverting the medicines away from the UK markets has allowed pharma companies including some of the NHSs to gain a minimum profit of 30 percent extra.

According to the Department of Health's pharmaceutical services negotiating committee, the new illegal trade has created shortage of 41 medicines including Zyprexa, which is used to treat people with schizophrenia and Actonel, for osteoporosis sufferers. Similarly, other figures show the short supply of these drugs is driven by an exodus of more than £30 million-worth of medicines from the UK every month.

Measures such as random inspections and raising the standards required for wholesaler dealers’ licences are some of the firewalls included to prevent parallel trade. Furthermore, if manufacturers or wholesalers are found to be in breach of legal duties to maintain an adequate supply of medicines they risk prosecution and losing their licences.

By Jose Roy

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