Firm hopes end to fake drugs is on Horizon
AN IRISH engineering company is leading the fight against counterfeit medicines, working with the pharmaceutical industry at home and abroad to implement sophisticated systems to guarantee drugs are genuine.
Horizon, which has offices in Dublin and Mayo, has just finished successful trialling of track-and-trace systems in the pharmaceutical sector, aimed at showing drugs are not counterfeit and are compliant.
Counterfeit drugs are a massive problem, posing serious health risks to patients.
The European Parliament has made the battle against falsified medicine one of its top priorities and has introduced a new directive aimed at harmonising the serialisation and verification of drugs across Europe by 2016.
More than 11 million counterfeit or illegal medicines were seized at EU borders in 2009.
Most of these drugs would have ended up being sold online by illegitimate or unethical companies and many would have found their way into legal distribution systems such as hospitals and pharmacies – putting those seriously ill at risk.
According to Horizon managing director Aiden Corcoran, the company has finished trials with three pharmaceutical companies on implementing serialisation systems, and it will be all systems go now to put the sophisticated tracking systems in place.
He said many counterfeiters had access to the same high-quality, hi-tech equipment as authentic manufacturers, making it nearly impossible to differentiate between spurious and authentic medications and devices.
Horizon is currently installing systems for multinational and Indigenous pharmaceutical companies in Ireland, Belgium and the US.