30,000 fake pharmacy websites target the EU population at any one time. And so a new collaborative approach to stopping criminals peddling fake medicines via the internet was revealed today at the Global Forum on Access to Safe Medicines conference held in London.

Bringing all those involved together in the anti-counterfeiting arena was its goal. Mike Isles who represents the growing Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy in the EU said ‘The Alliance is over 50 companies strong now and we have the commitment from leading internet stakeholder organisations such as Google and the largest trade body representing the mail service pharmacies across Europe (EAMSP), as well as large umbrella patient interest groups as well as major pharmaceutical companies  to sign up to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will deliver concrete voluntary actions to combat fake websites. This is a major step forward in the battle against this dire criminal activity which causes great harm to patients”.

The concept is to roll out the MoU on a continual basis – as organisations are ready to sign. This combined with independent monitoring gives credibility to the MoU concept.  Jim Thomson whose patient safety organisation – the European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines (www.eaasm.eu) represents many millions of patients through its membership network says “this initiative holds great promise to make a real difference and all companies who are connected in any way to the sale or supply of medicines; be they consumers, healthcare and patient groups, shippers, branded and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy bodies, wholesalers and traders, advertising networks, internet advertising and search companies, internet domain name registrars and registries, payment processors, law enforcement and regulatory bodies should be actively engaged and sign up to this ground breaking MoU”.

Additional notes

ASOP EU has a growing number of stakeholders; consumers, healthcare and patient groups, shippers, branded and generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy bodies, wholesalers and traders, advertising networks, internet advertising and search companies, internet domain name registrars and registries, payment processors, law enforcement and regulatory bodies. The coalition operates with its participants via a steering group focusing on the development of a memorandum of understanding and raising public awareness, catalysing voluntary sector actions and campaigning for improvements to policy and legislation. Members participate through teleconferencing and key face to face meetings (approximately 3 per year). This is a vital area of activity to protect patients from the rising tide of falsified / counterfeit medicines across Europe and the world.

For further information contact Mike Isles mike.isles@asop.eu mobile +44 7540 462867