Impact of counterfeit drugs on the formulary decision-making process

As initiatives to legalize the importation of prescription drugs draw more attention, the concern over counterfeit drugs is growing. The possibility of receiving counterfeit drugs has created an emerging dilemma for health-care professionals. FDA is relying on pharmacists to help ensure the integrity of drug products before they reach health-care consumers. Pharmacy and therapeutics committees can play a key role in achieving this goal by reviewing policies for medication acquisition and ensuring that necessary controls are in place to help prevent the acquisition of counterfeit drugs. FDA is also taking steps to help alleviate counterfeiting by mandating bar codes on all hospital drug packaging and implementing electronic pedigree papers to track distribution. FDA leaders project that by 2007, all prescription drugs will be tracked electronically to help ensure their authenticity. Formulary decision-makers, pharmacy directors, and clinicians must continue to be educated about the problem to help prevent counterfeit drugs from polluting the drug supply.