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Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting: Combating the Real Danger from Fake Drugs

Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting: Combating the Real Danger from Fake Drugs. By Mark Davison. Wiley; 426 pages; availa­ble from ASIS; $90 (ASIS member); $99 (nonmember).

In his introduction, Mark Davison describes this book as a primer on counterfeit drugs and how to combat them. He explores the problem and its consequences in exceptional detail. The consequences range from the usual economic concerns of protecting intellectual property to negative patient outcomes and the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria brought about by inadequate doses present in some counterfeit medications. The fact that this type of counterfeiting affects the health and well-being of real people causes it to rise above the counterfeiting of fashion accessories and auto parts on the scale of criticality.

The book explores a broad spectrum of mitigation strategies, including packaging, supply chain integrity, “on dose” and “in dose” markers, and more in a depth well beyond that of a primer. This book is exceptional in that the theoretical is held to a standard of pragmatism. For example, in the discussion of labeling technologies, Davison points out that the best technology is of little value if the cost or production time required makes the technology impractical.

In several instances, competing views are presented, with the author giving each side and leaving the reader to decide. This was most apparent in his discussion of future regulation where there is some disagreement in the industry. For Davison’s intended audience, the C-suite of pharmaceutical companies to the pharmacists who dispense the drugs, this book should be required reading. It is also recommended for anyone tasked with protecting intellectual property and brand integrity.

Reviewer: Terry Jones, CPP, is vice president for healthcare services at Teachout Security Solutions. He serves on the ASIS Healthcare Security Council.