FAKED DRUGS FLOOD THE MARKET
The Medicines Executive Agency seized 170,000 packings of faked medicines from a printing house in Sofia, the manager of the agency Dr. Emil Hristov said. The confiscation came due to a warning that a faked medicine was being distributed in the pharmacies. Packings designated for the Russian market were seized, too. Investigators found out that the packings had been ordered by a Turkish citizen living in Istanbul. The order for the printing has passed through several printing houses in order to be disguised, agency experts explained. We cannot be firm that the faked pills that will use these packings were produced in Bulgaria but this is quite possible, Mr. Hristov underlined. Bulgaria remains one of the most attractive places where faked medicines are prepared and distributed, he added.The drugs agency ordered the confiscation of four faked medicines a month ago. Three of them were Bulgarian products and one was imported. By the end of October, pharmacy owners must stop selling them and present protocols for their destruction. According to information provided by the agency, the packings are about 5,000. However, this is certainly not the whole amount produced, Mr. Hristov clarified. In most cases only small parts of the lot were offered on the market. That is how the confiscation of the whole amount produced can be avoided. The distribution of the faked French drug Tertinzif proved it. On August 16, the agency inspectors found it in pharmacies and ordered its withdrawal from the market. A few days ago, however, the drug was seen in sale again.In order for an optimum market control to be guaranteed, the agency must increase its administrative capacity, its manager said. Eighteen of its officers are now inspecting all pharmacies across the country. There are 43 experts controlling the quality, safety, and efficiency of the medicines.The agency inspected the working conditions in all Bulgarian drug producers. From the beginning of the year until September 30 the inspectors wrote 82 violation acts that totalled BGN42,500. Inspections continue with assistance by the National Healthcare Insurance Fund.After 2007 the Medicines Executive Agency will have to restructure its activities in accordance with the European directives. In the future, if a clinical testing of a new medicine is allowed in an EU member country, that will automatically be valid for Bulgaria, too. The sale of medicines will be permitted on the same basis. After the country joins the European Union, the agency experts will only inspect drugs coming from countries outside the eurozone.A methodology for controlling drugs advertising is about to be worked out, too. According to the currently effective regulations, mass media can neither mention trade names nor show packings of drugs. The advertisement of a concrete medicine must be approved by a council of experts at the agency that includes representatives of the Council for Electronic Media.