Drug supply chain integrity is a means to ensuring that the drug that is consumed by the patient has come through proper sources and is free of adulteration, and reaches the right hands.
The drug supply chain a complex, yet trackable chain that starts from the time the substances and raw materials are identified for their potency and capability for being developed into drugs, and goes all the way up to the consumer and even after.
Drug supply chain is crucial because a weak cog in this link can make the drug spurious and reduce its efficacy. Worse, when drug supply chain integrity is awry, it gives opportunity for the drugs to become illicit and reach the wrong hands, ending up being put to the wrong use.
Dangerous consequences for society at large
This makes the integrity of the drug supply chain a matter of utmost importance to everyone concerned -the medical fraternity, users and their families, the logistics sector, the drug industry, the retail drug sector and everyone else. It is everyone’s duty to ensure drug supply chain integrity.
When the wrong drug (meaning a drug that is not prescribed) is given out to the patient, it accounts for loss of drug supply chain integrity. In many cases, as the ones relating to the massive scale of the recent diversion of sales of the drugs Avastin and Altuzan, the financial loss can be colossal. It was estimated in 2012 that the American economy stands to lose at least a billion dollars a year because of slackness in drug supply chain integrity.
The Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987
Legislative efforts to bring about drug supply chain integrity can be traced to the presidency of Ronald Reagan, who passed the prescription drug marketing act (PDMA) of 1987, which sought to regulate the drug supply chain. This was at the peak of the drug threat in the US. It was believed that bringing about drug supply chain integrity could ease the problem.
The NABP-Accredited-Verified Wholesale Distributors Program
This Act gave way to the NABP-Accredited-Verified Wholesale Distributors Program (VAWD), which was passed mainly because the PDMA did not fully succeed in its mission of bringing about the desired levels of drug supply chain integrity. Following the reemergence of spurious drugs in the market in the 2000’s, this program was initiated by the NABP. It strengthens the existing PDMA and seeks to bring about drug supply chain integrity by:
- Reviewing sections of the existing law and making them stronger
- Verifying licensures
- Making more rigorous inspections and checks of facilities
Want to know more? Read: