IAPO intervention in Geneva

IAPO calls on WHO Member States to take urgent action to protect patients from counterfeit medical products

Geneva, Switzerland, 28 May 2012 – On Friday 25 May 2012, The International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to take urgent action to protect patients from the threat of counterfeit medical products. This request was central to an intervention made by Jo Groves, IAPO CEO, on item 13.13 Substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products at the Sixty-Fifth Session of the WHO World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. The following is taken from IAPO’s statement:

“…Counterfeit medical products pose a very real threat to the lives of patients worldwide and are one of many threats to the quality and safety of medicines available to patients.

This issue requires urgent action to protect patients. IAPO considers that a global, multi-stakeholder approach is essential if there is to be any significant progress in reducing the proliferation of counterfeit medical products around the world. We have a global responsibility to prevent counterfeit medical products harming patients in the poorest and least protected areas where patients often do not have the knowledge or the choice to avoid exposure to counterfeit medical products, and to empower all patients with information, choices and solutions.

IAPO is supportive of the proposed ‘member-state mechanism’ to promote the prevention and control of counterfeit medical products and associated activities. In particular, IAPO is pleased to see the inclusion among its objectives, to work towards strengthening regulatory capacity in developing and least developed countries, to strengthen capacities to ensure the integrity of the supply chain and to develop tools in the area of prevention, detection methodologies and control of counterfeit medical products.

However, IAPO is concerned that the ‘member state mechanism’ does not sufficiently explain how the many stakeholders with expertise, or who may be affected by this threat, will be included. A multi-stakeholder approach is absolutely essential to ensuring success. There are many key stakeholders ranging from health professionals to regulators to patients themselves and it is essential that they are involved completely in this work.  

We must not let counterfeit medical products undermine trust and confidence in our health systems and we must not delay our efforts to find effective solutions to this critical public health issue.”

IAPO is pleased to report that the resolution for a Member State mechanism for international cooperation against counterfeit medical products was approved by delegates of the WHA. IAPO will continue to work closely with WHO in this area and advocate for the involvement of patient groups in the fight against counterfeit medical products.


Note to Editors:

About IAPO: IAPO is the only global alliance representing patients of all nationalities across all disease areas and promoting patient-centred healthcare worldwide.  Our members are patients’ organizations working at the local, national, regional and international levels to represent and support patients, their families and carers. IAPO has over 200 members which span 60 countries and 50 disease areas and through its membership represents an estimated 365 million patients worldwide.

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