The good news is that one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers (McKesson) is tightening up its supply chain. The bad news is that they weren’t going to make it public. The story became public when McKesson’s letter to Kevin Fagin — whose son received injections of a counterfeit anemia drug — did the right thing and made it public. (I recently testified with Mr. Fagin in front of the Government Reform Committee about the growing problem of coutnerfeit prescription drugs.)
The letter, from Ivan D. Meyerson, the general counsel, said that “on a going forward basis, [drugs] will only be purchased directly from the manufacturer or from the manufacturer’s designated sole distributor.” The letter states that the company has “no current intention of announcing this policy to the public.” The new policy means that the three top wholesalers that account for a total of more than 90% of medicines distributed in the U.S. have taken steps to cut off purchases from so-called secondary wholesalers. Such suppliers don’t purchase products directly from drug makers and create an opening for illicit knock-offs to enter mainstream channels. In the last year, Cardinal Health Inc. of Dublin, Ohio, and AmerisourceBergen Corp. of Chesterbrook, Pa., announced they would end purchases from the secondary market.
Mr. Fagin isn’t a policy wonk or an elected official or a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist. He’s a good man with a lot of courage. Thank you Kevin.