International trade has allowed business to grow all around the world and has created an interconnected marketplace for goods and services. However, despite these major benefits, risks have also emerged. Experts estimate that 10 percent of medicinal goods around the world are counterfeit and the sale of counterfeit medicine has risen 90% in the last five years. This phenomenon has been attributed to the increasing amount of merchandise crossing borders and the growing sophistication of counterfeit methods. How has counterfeit medicine affected the global healthcare industry?

In terms of counterfeit goods, the risks for the healthcare industry are often greater than other industries due to the inherent risks to patients and the industry’s complex supply chain. Counterfeit medicines are a serious threat to the health of individuals and can possibly harm or even kill patients. Due to the complexity and lack of visibility within healthcare supply chains, opportunities arise for counterfeiters to obtain legitimate packaging materials to repackage a fake product. In order to combat these threats, companies within the industry must perform a risk assessment in order to develop an appropriate anti-counterfeiting strategy.

Overall, counterfeit medicinal goods deprive the developers and original producers of medicines from their financial rewards. This inhibits further research and development and also causes the price of medicine across the world to increase. Therefore, international organizations have created strategies to combat counterfeiting within the healthcare industry. The International Medical Products Any-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) brings together nearly 200 countries to call attention to the public health and commercial trade impact of counterfeit medicines. Furthermore, the Michigan State University Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP) is the first academic body focusing on the complex global issues of anti-counterfeiting and product protection. Linking industry, government, and academic expertise, A-CAPP serves as an international hub for evidence based anti-counterfeit strategies. For additional information, please visit the Michigan State University A-CAPP website!

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