The diversion of medications from legitimate channels has increased as drug costs rise for both legitimate and illegitimate users. This, in turn, has resulted in more opportunities to obtain and sell diverted drugs through e-commerce and global trading channels. Although the diversion of narcotics and other controlled prescription medications has been getting much of the attention, there are many other ways medications leave the legitimate supply chain.
Explore this issue:October 2012
“Diversion is when a pharmaceutical product is illegally transferred from one market to another,” said Sebastian J. Mollo, MD, intelligence director for the Americas at the Pharmaceutical Security Institute in Vienna, Va. “This can take many forms, such as smuggling from one country to another or when transferred from institutional markets, such as Medicaid or Medicare, to the private market through fraud or illegal claim.”
This tends to break down into legitimate trade, gray market trade and illegal trade. The first is where the manufacturer of a product hands it off to a known wholesaler or distributor, who then gets it to the final customer. For the entire time, it is under the control of regulated and vetted entities that make sure it is not adulterated, that it is stored properly and that there is a high degree of certainty that the patient is getting a genuine product that is still efficacious.