The wholesale distribution of medicinal products and active substances is an important activity. The quality and the integrity of medicinal products can be affected by a lack of adequate control.
The quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products depend on a whole range of different factors. The most important factors are that medicinal products have been manufactured and distributed in a compliant manner. Unfortunately, the patient is not always able to judge this. Therefore, they must rely on all stakeholders involved in the manufacturing and distribution chain. Transport damage is most of the time easy to detect, whereas inappropriate storage may not be identified easily. Drug theft is an increasing issue that seems to be occurring.
Nowadays, drug products as well as active substances are traded globally. They often change hands several times. Apart from the related dangers such as mix ups, wrong storage or improper transport, the danger of theft is growing. Not only does it come as a financial loss, these stolen drugs can find their way back into the supply chain. This can be hard to detect as transport and distribution are not controlled. Theft of medicinal product remains quite low in the UK and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) currently posts articles to help distributors improve security standards. The first part of the MHRA blog post series can be found here.