The Latvian medicines verification system has been successfully protecting patients from falsified medicine for 4 years

Today, on February 9, it has been 4 years since the authenticity of medicinal products has been verified in the medicines verification system operating in all of Europe, including Latvia, where it is provided by the Latvian Medicines Verification System (LZVS). This system cares about the health and lives of patients by preventing falsified prescription medicines and omeprazole from reaching patients through the legal supply chain. More than 100 million packs of medicinal products have been verified in the system during its entire operation.

In Latvia, 1,213 end users are connected to the verification system and have verified the safety of medicines at the end of 2022 – pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, wholesalers and healthcare institutions that have permission to purchase medicines (hospitals, polyclinics, doctor's practices, dental clinics, and practices). Overall, the European-level medicine verification system connects 2,800 pharmaceutical companies, 4,000 wholesalers, 110,000 pharmacies and 6,000 hospital pharmacies in 29 European countries online.

"This is an important moment for us – I would like to congratulate my colleagues, cooperation partners, system users and representatives of national medicine verification organizations on the fourth anniversary of the system. Thank you for your successful and pleasant cooperation," says Inese Erdmane, Chairwoman of the Board of the Latvian Medicines Verification Organisation (LZVO). “It was not easy to implement the verification system without a transition period, but it paid off. In Latvia, we achieved a stable operation of the system quite quickly – the parties involved acted responsibly and in a timely manner, thus, all relevant end users were connected to the system from the very beginning, providing patients with access to verified prescription medicines and omeprazole. Similar to previous years, the system worked stably last year as well, allowing the dispensing of slightly more than 28 million packs."

The main operational priority of the LZVO in 2023 will be the maintenance and development of the medicines verification system, including the continuation of work on the implementation of the national Alert Management System (AMS). This year, it is planned to purchase the system, install it, connect it to the European central AMS, to be able to connect end users and organize trainings, as well as start the operation of the system in Latvia. The new AMS will provide a single platform for a prompter exchange of information between the parties involved in the investigation of alerts.

The verification system has been in operation in 29 European countries since 9 February 2019 and is designed to guarantee the safety of prescription medicines for patients. The basic principle of the system is that manufacturers provide each pack of medicines with a unique code, which is verified several times on the way to the consumer and finally decommissioned when handing over to the patient in a pharmacy or prescribing the medicine to the patient in a healthcare institution. Information of all unique identifiers is stored in the European Medicines Verification System. In case the system does not recognize the unique code during the verification, an alert is generated, which is received and investigated by the Health Inspectorate.

The basis for the establishment of the medicines verification system is the EU Falsified Medicines Directive (2011/62/EU) and the Delegated Regulation which defines detailed rules for the safety features appearing on the packaging of medicinal products for human use (EU 2016/161).