Uncertainty persists around the number of medicine packs in the supply chain that have Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) safety features after the company set up to establish the UK medicines verification system said it could not track when and how manufacturers and parallel distributors issue products on to the market.
There have been concerns that just a few packs of medicines in the supply chain will initially have FMD features and some that do may still return an alert from the FMD database.
The National Pharmacy Association advised its members that most medicines can still be dispensed even if they return an alert and said medicines should only be withheld if there is “a clear indication they are counterfeit.”
FMD, which requires pharmacists to scan the barcodes of all medicines at the point of dispensing and check the anti-tamper device, came into effect at the weekend.
When contacted by ICP, the Department of Health and Social Care did not have an answer to the question of how many medicine packs in the supply chain have FMD safety features or when all packs in the system will have the safety features. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency did not respond.
SecurMed, the not-for-profit company set up to establish the UK medicines verification system, told ICP that there was data for 68.5 million FMD-compliant packs of medicine in the verification system but could not confirm how many packs in total had the safety features.
“There is the data for 68.5 million FMD-compliant packs of medicine in the UK medicines verification system. Marketing authorisation holders have loaded that data for 1,199 different product types,” SecurMed said.
When asked specifically how many medicine packs in total in the supply chain have FMD safety features, SecurMed said: “This is the number of packs that the marketing authorisation holders have loaded into our system, it does not necessarily correlate to how many they have released into the UK market.
“We have no information and cannot track how and/or when over 500 pharmaceutical manufacturers and parallel distributors will issue medicines into the UK market.”