CVS Moves to Fight Rx Counterfeiting
By George Anderson
CVS announced yesterday it was initiating a certification process to prevent the chain from buying prescription medicines sold by wholesalers that purchased the drugs on the secondary drug market.
According to a company release, wholesalers unable to demonstrate that they are buying directly from a manufacturer or other certified wholesaler will not have their contracts renewed.
CVS is taking this action over growing concerns about counterfeit medicines entering the market and being sold as legitimate to unsuspecting pharmacies and consumers.
The drug store chain and one of its customers were the victims of counterfeiting when CVS sold what it believed was Epogen, a drug that helps correct anemia in chronic kidney disease patients undergoing dialysis, but was not.
The rise of counterfeit medicines hitting the market has caused state attorney generals and legislators to consider various legal remedies to address the problem.
In a released statement, Chris Bodine, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at CVS, said, “We are seeing numerous state specific legislative initiatives aimed at maintaining the safety of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Many of these initiatives, while well intentioned, are not practical from an operational perspective and cannot be supported through technology currently available. Therefore, CVS is taking what we believe to be the most effective means to ensure the continued integrity and authenticity of the pharmaceutical products that CVS dispenses to its customers.”
According to a Boston Globe report, secondary wholesalers “handle about 10 percent of the country’s drug supply.”
Moderator’s Comment: How big a problem are counterfeit drugs on the market? Will CVS’ action address the problem? Is governmental action also required?
George Anderson – Moderator
- CVS takes step to keep fake drugs off shelves
– The Boston Globe
- CVS Takes Additional Steps to Ensure the
Continued Integrity of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain – CVS Corporation