Counterfeit drugs still remain frustration for Indonesia
With the ASEAN region in particular, Asia is still a lucrative market for producers and distributors of counterfeit drugs. The Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI) mentioned there were 673 incidents involving fake medicine and illegal diversions in ASEAN from 2013 to 2017. Of the total incidents, 193 incidents occurred in the Philippines, 110 in Thailand, 93 in Indonesia, and 49 in Vietnam.
World Health Organization (WHO) reported that falsified drugs ranged from generic drugs, and patents, to brands, including vitamins and supplements. According to Pfizer Global Security, 29 of their medical products were counterfeited in 75 countries in 2008. The number jumped to 95 products in 113 countries in 2018.
According to WHO, there are five categories of counterfeit and substandard drugs: products without active substances, products with active substances that do not meet the standards, products with active substances that are different from their labels, products with packaging plagiarized from other producers, and products manufactured by copying those of other producers.
In Indonesia, incidents involving counterfeiting are countless. BPOM noted that there were at least 370 counterfeit drug findings (in online markets) during 2017. A few months ago, BPOM discovered that counterfeit drugs had reached pharmacies in the Greater Jakarta area. The drugs were repackaged out of generic and expired drugs. The perpetrators gained as much as 400 million rupiahs in profits from the dirty work.
The circulation of counterfeit drugs clearly causes detrimental loss to consumers, countries, and drug manufacturers. Consumers‘ health and lives are jeopardized. The government loses a substantial amount of tax revenue. Manufacturers suffer from brand infringement and consumers’ trust.
In Indonesia, according to data published by the Indonesia Anti-Counterfeiting Society (MIAP) in 2016, Counterfeit drugs constitute 25% of the country’s $2 billion pharmaceutical markets.
Although there have been countless recorded incidents and convicted perpetrators, counterfeit drugs are still found in the market. Quoting from mClinica, the lack of monitoring of the supply chain is a contributing factor of why the issue has never been solved. Monitoring the supply chain is complicated and getting more so due to the involvement of e-commerce. Therefore, it takes collaboration between pharmacy manufacturers, the government, law enforcement, and related organizations. By monitoring, manufacturers can reduce the risks posed by counterfeit drugs as well as protect their brands and consumers.