Residents of Latvia have received only safe medicine – 26 million packages were checked in the verification system last year

Last year residents of Latvia received only safe prescription medicine, checked at the end of legal supply chain – pharmacies and healthcare institutions. More than 26.2 million of packages have been verified for the authenticity by the medicine verification system. It is 18% more than in 2020, when 22 million packages of medicine were decommissioned in the system, according to the Latvian Medicines Verification Organization (LZVO) data.

The medicines verification system is a unique Pan-European project, which interconnects 2 500 pharmaceutical companies, 4 000 wholesalers, 100 000 pharmacies and 6 000 hospital pharmacies in 29 countries. At the end of 2021 in Latvia there were 1 180 end-users connected to the verification system and performing verification of medicines – pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, wholesalers, and healthcare institutions, that have legal permission to purchase medicines (hospitals, outpatient clinics, doctor’s practices, dental clinics, and practices).

“Medicines verification project is like a grey cardinal – it is a huge European level system, which takes care of our very important health aspect, but at the same time it works silently and is little known. But I want to confirm that each package of medicines, which residents purchase in pharmacies, or pills, which are received in hospital, has gone through multiple checks, so that we can be absolutely convinced that it is not falsified and does not endanger human health,” says Inese Erdmane, chairwoman of the Board of LZVO.

Medicines verification system protects human health by ensuring that falsified medicinal products do not enter the legal supply chain. This system works in 29 European countries since 9 February 2019. All prescription medicines and one over-the-counter medicine – omeprazole – are checked by the system.

Unique identifier on each medicine package guarantees safety of the medicine. Manufacturer put the code on package, and it is multiple times online verified on the way to the consumer. At the end of the supply chain – in a pharmacy or healthcare institution – the unique code is decommissioned from the system before the medicine has been checked out or used. This procedure ensures that the same identifier can’t be used, preventing falsified medicines from entering the legal supply chain. If the system does not recognize the unique identifier during the verification, an alert has been generated, which is received and investigated by the Health Inspectorate. According to information at the disposal of LZVO, all alerts in Latvia have been of technical origin and not alerts due to falsified medicines.

In Latvia the State Authorities, which are responsible for the safety and authenticity of medicinal products, regularly inform society regarding falsified medicines found by customs or during other control activities. The medicines verification system aims to prevent this kind of medicinal product (if they are prescription medicines) entering the legal supply chain and reaching the residents of Latvia through pharmacies and healthcare institutions.

LZVO invite all Latvian residents 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).