What do CBS 60 Minutes and INTERPHEX have in Common?

In November 2010, I received a call from a producer at CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes.  He told me he was working on a segment on counterfeit drugs and the global supply chain.  After a brief introduction, he proceeded with a barrage of questions regarding findings discussed in specific  sections and figures in Axendia’s research report titled “Achieving Global Supply Chain Visibility, Control & Collaboration in Life Sciences:  Business Imperative, Regulatory Necessity.”   


On Sunday, March 13th, CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a segment by Dr. Sanjay Gupta titled “The difficult fight against counterfeit drugs”.  The segment focused on dangerous and sometimes deadly counterfeit drugs that get into the hands of US consumers the through the Global Supply Chain.


To my delight, many of the topics presented by Dr. Gupta in the 60 Minutes segment were supported by finding published in our research report.

Here are a few excerpts of Dr. Gupta’s interview with FDA Commissioner Dr. Hamburg in the piece:

“How does all this increase in counterfeit drugs around the world affect the United States?” Gupta asked.

“Just consider that 40 percent of drugs taken in this country come from other countries; 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in drugs taken in this country actually come from other countries,” Hamburg said.

Even if the prescription medications are manufactured in the United States, the raw ingredients often come from overseas, through a complicated web of suppliers and distributors – and are increasingly vulnerable to counterfeiting.

That is what happened in 2008 with the blood thinner heparin, which millions of Americans rely on to prevent blood clots. Little did the manufacturer, Baxter International, know that one of the raw ingredients from China was counterfeit.

Despite what happened with heparin, most of the ingredients in our medicines today still come from other countries, including China and India, which have notoriously weak regulatory systems. The FDA only inspects about 12 percent of overseas facilities a year.

“Everyone’s concerned, it’s hard to regulate. It’s potentially problematic. Even deadly. Why does it continue to happen?” Gupta asked.

“I think that we live in a globalized world. And components of all kinds of products are gonna come from all over the world,” Hamburg said.

“It’s cheaper over there. It’s economics,” Gupta remarked.

“It is economics, for the companies. I do believe that we can do an enormous amount to strengthen the safety of the supply chain,” Hamburg said.

To hear key findings from Axendia’s research study as well as a recommendations and a road map to achieve On-Demand visibility and control over the Global Supply Chain, please attend our session at the Interphex 2011 Conference.


This session, “Managing the Risks of Global Supply Chains: Strategies to Reap the Rewards,” will be held on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 11:15AM.


For additional information on this session, visit: http://interphex2011.conferencepath.com/speakerlist/?action=showsessions&userid=16329  


Daniel R. Matlis is President of Axendia, a trusted advisor to Life-Science and Healthcare Executives on Business, Technology and Regulatory issues. Dan has over 20 years of experience solving business, technology and regulatory issues in the Industry.

Dan is the Editor of Life-Science Panorama , a Publication covering the Business, Regulatory and Technology issues facing Industry Executives. He is a frequent lecturer at Industry conferences and has published numerous research reports and paper addressing key issues facing the Life-Sciences and Healthcare industry.


Official blog of: INTERPHEX New York - www.interphex.com
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