The production and distribution of counterfeit medications has become a significant global public health issue. Though not as rampant in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seen a 10 fold increase in the number of cases investigated, particularly a rise in illegally imported and diverted medications entering our legitimate drug supply. In order to curb these illegal activities, California and the federal government have introduced various pieces of legislation to address this. In addition, international entities, State Boards of Pharmacy and the FDA have begun promoting utilization of radio frequency identification technology and other technology to effectively track the medication supply. In a recent California survey, pharmacists felt strongly that the presence of counterfeit medications poses a problem in their pharmacy practice, but they still face several challenges in identifying counterfeit medications, counseling their patients, and forging their role in implementing legislative requirements.
This presentation will aim to provide an introduction to the international and domestic counterfeit drugs situation, discuss possible factors facilitating patient exposure to counterfeit medications, examine potential sources for counterfeit medications in the United States, identifiy federal legislation issues, discuss various forms of technology being used to combat counterfeit medications, and recognize the role of pharmacists and the challenges they face in dealing with counterfeit medications.
Dr. Elaine Law is currently a Clinical Pharmacist specializing in Adult General Surgery at UCSF Medical Center and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy. She received a B.S. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from UCLA, earned a Doctor in Pharmacy from UCSF School of Pharmacy and completed a General Practice Pharmacy Residency at UCSF Medical Center. She holds a Board Certification in Pharmacotherapy and her research interests include roles pharmacists can play in public health issues including counterfeit medications and pharmacist-based immunization programs. She is an advocate of patient care in underserved areas and reaches out regularly to the Tenderloin communities and elderly populations of San Francisco through pharmacy health outreach programs.