A new medication tracking system is hoped to alleviate the gray market that thrives through diverting medications, as some hospitals and clinics (facing recent drug shortages) have turned to middle-men brokers. However, this increases the risk of counterfeit or unsafe drugs being administered to patients, FDA officials say. Counterfeit or altered medications can be diluted, inert or dangerous.

According to ONC Live, the tracking system was created under the auspices of the Drug Quality and Security Act from November 2013, and it was prompted by a trend of counterfeit prescription drug cases, including the 2012 deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis associated with tainted steroids.

The new system will:

  • Enable verification of the drug product identifier’s legitimacy down to the package level
  • Enhance detection and notification of illegitimate products in the drug supply chain
  • Facilitate more efficient drug products recalls

The development of the system will be phased in with new requirements over a 10-year period, the article reports.