One of the biggest benefits of the Internet has been the ability for consumers to research medical information for themselves. It’s not surprising that people would turn to the web for answers to health-related questions, particularly if they or a family member are suddenly faced with a serious health concern. And from WebMD to other sites, the web is full of valuable information that can increase someone’s understanding of a medical condition quickly.
Unfortunately, there’s a darker side to this, too. Medical product scammers and counterfeiters have found more than a few people online to be susceptible to their “cures.” They’ve surmised that it’s only natural for a person concerned about a medical condition or ailment to be interested in a cure – or at least to find a way to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with it.
Because the web is global, there’s precious little any government or court jurisdiction can do to control the proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals or other medical products. And the web is full of them – not simply bogus drugs but also counterfeit contact lenses, glucose strips, and a whole host of items let’s just refer to euphemistically as “virility and family planning products.”
But to do nothing isn’t a solution, either. Johnson & Johnson seems to feel this way, too, and is proposing a “Medical Device Product Protection Leadership Initiative” … and inviting other companies, including medical wholesalers, to join in the effort.
In addition, a new pharmaceutical industry initiative, dubbed “Rx-360“, is starting up. It’s focused on securing the integrity of supply chains that lead into manufacturing and packaging operations.
Will these initiatives work? Judging from the spotty success to date in curtailing the proliferation of counterfeit medical products being sold online, likely it’ll be only modestly effective at best. But since we’re dealing with potentially life-and-death matters here, any amount of increased effectiveness is highly welcome.