On February 9th the new rules on safety features have start to prevent the counterfeiting of the packaging of medicines. Unique identifiers and anti-tampering devices must be present on the packaging placed on the European market after this date. The pharmacists are responsible for checking the authenticity at the end of the supply chain.
Italy and Greece are at the moment exempt from the introduction of the new measures, as they have already adopted similar systems of control.
A closed system at the base of the checks
Verification of authenticity requires access to the closed system by pharmacists specifically authorized for this purpose. Patients will also be able to verify that the online pharmacies they use to purchase medicines are authorized and operate legally (just by clicking on the appropriate European logo on the homepage of the pharmacy website).
Before the checks by pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies that produce the medicines have the task of inserting into the system all the information that compose the unique identifier of the single package of any drugs.
The European database is centrally managed by the European Medicines Verification Organization. In some cases, depending on the origin of the drugs, wholesalers could also be called upon to verify authenticity along the supply chain.