I notice this news item from the BBC and its misleading headline – ‘Europe’s concern over fake pills’
It’s about my old mate Jim Thomson and his latest initiative to keep us patients safe… The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines. You can read my previous posts about the EAASM here and here.
The BBC article starts:
In the space of one year there has been a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit medicines seized in the European Union.
In 2005 there were five hundred thousand fake medicines discovered – last year that figure shot up to 2.5 million.More and more people are becoming concerned that some of these fake drugs might be entering the legitimate supply chain via what is known as the parallel trade in medicines.
One of those is Jim Thompson who has just set up an organisation called the European Alliance for Access to safe medicines.
“This trade is perfectly legal but the problem is these drugs will be passing through many hands. There is no audit trail for that drug. It might travel through one hand, fifteen or 25, who knows?”
Each government in the EU sets the price of drugs in its country. In the UK, where buying power is higher than poorer countries in Southern Europe, drugs are more expensive than say Greece or Spain.
So dealers can buy them up and sell them to the UK at higher prices. They will have to be repackaged in new boxes or English labels are stuck over the foreign writing…
…the big drug companies believe that the parallel trade is likely to be increasingly targeted by drug counterfeiters.
The cynical amongst you might think that Jim and the EAASM only link the parallel trade with counterfeit drugs because the EAASM has actually been set up with pharmaceutical money in order to play its part to tarnish a legitimate and safe practice (parallel trading) that poses competition to the major pharmaceutical industries.
The cynical amongst you might think that – I couldn’t possibly comment…
I also notice in the article that Graham Satchwell is quoted… is this the same Graham Satchwell who is involved with Jim Thomson at thehealthwell.org?
Could it even be same Graham Satchwell who used to be head of security at Glaxo?
If you want further information about the EAASM enquiries are to be sent to the Medicom Group – “The company’s media-neutral vision is believed to be unique in the independently-owned sector of pharmaceutical marketing providers. A PR company will naturally provide clients with PR strategy and tactics, medical education agencies will propose educational tactics and publishers will promote print execution. The capacity of Medicom Group to provide all of these core marketing disciplines creates a unique environment in which an integrated tactical strategy most appropriate for the client’s brand can be delivered. This is at the forefront of the Medicom Group offering.”
The Medicom Group has an impressive client list including Glaxo, Pfizer, Roche, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi Aventis etc etc.
Now, of course this in itself is not a bad thing…
What I wonder though, is who is footing the bill for the EAASM? What part is Medicom playing in this new ‘alliance’? What are the aims of the EAASM?
Just who are Jim Thomson’s EAASM partners and what do they have to gain from taking this position?