The Latvian medicines verification system, which was established in Latvia to check the safety of medicines and prevent people from receiving or buying falsified medicines, has been fully operational for almost two years. No report of potential falsified medicines, including Covid-19 medicines, has been received by the Latvian Medicines Verification Organisation office till today.
Various warnings and reports have been heard in the public space about possible falsified Covid-19 medicines, which are allegedly offered in Latvia as well. The Latvian Medicines Verification Organization (LZVO), which maintains the medicines verification system in Latvia, urges everyone who has such information and facts to immediately provide them to the Health Inspection, a state institution controlling the circulation of medicines in Latvia.
The medicines verification system, which has been operating since 9 February 2019 in more than 30 European countries, including Latvia, verify the authenticity of all prescription medicines and one over-the-counter drug – omeprazole. The core principle of the verification system is that each package of medicine is labelled with a unique code during the manufacturing process and this code is verified and decommissioned immediately before the medicine is sold in a pharmacy or used in a healthcare institution. In case the system fails to recognise the unique code, an alert is generated and sent to the Health Inspection. In case of an alert message, LZVO contact both end users and producer's representatives to check the causes of the alert message, their actions and outcome. So far, all alerts in Latvia have been of technical origin and not alerts due to falsified medicines. Number of alerts in Latvia is less than 0.1% of all transactions in the system.
Both public and hospital pharmacies in Latvia are connected to the verification system and perform regular verification of medicine safety features. Medicines are also checked and decommissioned by pharmaceutical wholesalers and healthcare institutions, that have legal permission to purchase medicines. On average over 5 million packages of medicines are verified in Latvia per month.
“I would like to emphasize that the verification system checks all prescription medicines and omeprazole that are sold in pharmacies or used in healthcare institutions. Therefore we can confidently assume responsibility for the operation of the system and the safety of medicines that have reached the Latvian population through it,” says Inese Erdmane, chairwoman of the Board of LZVO. “However, the verification system introduced at the European level doesn’t include over-the-counter medicines and food supplements in the system, at least for the moment.”
Therefore, the LZVO invite all Latvian inhabitants to buy medicine in legal public and online pharmacies only, by avoid using unknown and unverified websites for the purchase of any medicine and food supplements, as well as avoid buying medicine from private or legal persons that advertise online in portals or social media.
The establishment of the medicines verification system is stipulated by the EU Falsified Medicinal Products Directive (2011/62/EU) and a delegated regulation stipulating detailed rules on the safety features of medicinal products for human use (EU 2016/161).
Chairwoman of the Board