Counterfeit Drugs and the Logistics Industry

Earlier this week the BBC reported that diet pills containing the potentially lethal chemical 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) remain available for sale online, despite a major crackdown by the government and regulatory bodies. According to the Food Standards Agency, around 19 websites were shut down last year. However an investigation led by the BBC found multiple sites on the dark web selling products containing the banned drug.

DNP is an industrial chemical licensed for commercial use, but not for human consumption. And the reason for this is clear: DNP has been linked to multiple deaths. An article published by the Journal of Medical Toxicology in 2011 found 62 deaths that could be attributed to DNP since the turn of the twentieth century. Yet despite knowledge of DNP’s potential to cause severe adverse reactions, there have been numerous further fatalities over the past five years.

It is clear that even though DNP is not licensed for medicinal use, diet pills containing it remain attractive to consumers looking to lose weight. Recent casualties have included: a medical student in 2012a bodybuilder (also in 2012); and a 21 year old (2015) who was believed to have known the risk but thought being slim was worth it. This means that even though diet pills containing DNP remain illegal, as long as supply and demand exists counterfeit drugs will continue to be a problem.

Which is why regulation and compliance within the Logistics Industry is so vital. It is crucial that every single person within the Supply Chain understands the importance of working within strict guidelines to ensure the quality and safety of each product. It may be easy to think that the odd slip won’t matter, but the reality is that the products we ship could prove to be fatal if we don’t validate their source and maintain robust procedures throughout the entire Supply Chain.

And this goes beyond management setting up Quality Assurance and SOPs: training needs to be provided for all workers, so that they understand exactly why the procedures they follow have been developed and what their individual role entails. By equipping all staff with the knowledge and skills to do this, we automatically reduce the risk of counterfeit drugs entering the Supply Chain. And when facing an illegal drug such as DNP, it is clear to see just how important this is.

We offer a range of training options to assist you in providing your staff with the skills and knowledge they need. Please contact us for further information, including to find out more about our online training courses (coming soon).