The paper “Regulation in Pharmaceutical Drug Counterfeit Market" is a breathtaking example of a research proposal on health sciences & medicine. In the identification of purpose, I summarized the main idea of the essay by emphasizing on the current and effectiveness of contemporary regulation in the pharmaceutical drug counterfeit market. In this perspective, I determined the social environment as the main factor of its either success or failure.
For this aim, the presented paper mostly analyses available literature on the topic. In this context, I used both the library and online articles (using Google Scholar engine) from different years to understand the dynamics of changes in the context of writing. At the same time, I used only the most contemporary ones among them in the research (starting from 2006 and ending 2014). While reading the sources, I divided the ideas from them into three groups. In the first part, I needed to determine the sphere of analysis both concerning the problematic field of counterfeit drug regulation and providing main definitions for its investigation. Furthermore, I concentrated on the discussion of the need for regulation itself and the potential for the public rule of this process without contemporary institutions. Finally, the last part raises the question of how the current efforts of both international and domestic actors in USA and EU cope with the current problems in the pharmaceutical counterfeit market. On the way of searching for the information in the books, I read the full content of the journal articles to understand both the general idea and the case studies they analyze and the selected chapters from the required book (Baldwin et al., 2012).
In the conceptualization part, I started by determining the main social obstacles to the effectiveness of counterfeit regulation. In this context, circumstances of the global economy make it hard to guarantee an equal set of regulation rules for both developed North and developing South. Moreover, the contradiction between economic profits and social responsibility inevitably appears in the case of pharmaceutical counterfeit regulation; hence, I conclude that it is a political battle in the framework of interest groups theories. By providing key definitions, scholars demonstrated to have no united vision on the ‘counterfeit drug’ term, in contrast to other medical definitions (like ‘pharmaceuticals’). Although, most of them agree on that ‘counterfeit drug’ includes criminality as an essential element of its production; thus, the term itself is rather political than scientific. In general, a literature review has shown that there exist severe theoretical difficulties to the effective regulation in the pharmaceutical sphere.
After discovering severe problems in counterfeit drug regulation and conceptualization, I discussed the very need for this policy for the two interested groups: business and public sector. On the one hand, companies had already taken some defensive measures in order to face the problem with counterfeits. Nevertheless, ‘invisible hand’ of the market is incapable to regulate such a sensitive sphere as health since only the spread of the diseases can increase the profits of pharmaceutical companies. On another hand, the current appearance of the pharmaceutical industry makes it hard for people to judge the drugs they take by themselves. In support of this statement, high costs of laboratory checking, invisible problems in the supply chain, and the fact that poor people prefer cheapness to quality prove that there is a need to create regulatory institutions in combating counterfeit drug market. In short, the revealed information in this part raises the question of regulation effectiveness, as the appearance of this problem is serious and crucial for both business and society.
In the last part, I concentrated on the current appearance of counterfeit drug regulation in the global context. In this case, literature reflected the discussions around regulatory instrument of intellectual rights, challenging the influence of international e-commerce, and ineffectiveness of WHO in case of counterfeits. As the British example showed, the established MHRA demonstrated its inability to regulate the domestic market with such severe problems in the international environment. Concerning counterfeit drug regulation’s effectiveness, contemporary international institutions cannot solve the existing division in economic interests and political will between developed and developing countries. Thus, they need to recognize global inequality on the highest level and guarantee transparency for all the involved actors in order to increase the effectiveness and mutual trust in the counterfeit drug market regulation.
As a result of the presented research, it turns evident that even though counterfeit drug regulation is crucial for both society and business, it is not effective enough to deal with the problem internationally nowadays. In fact, the difficulties with it appear due to the political nature of regulation in the sphere and the inability to determine the criteria of the counterfeit drugs in a scientific manner. Thus, the positive feedback on the current state of regulation refers to the profitable actors from the developed countries only. However, the importance of regulation is also evident for both the developing countries and the public that is suffering from health problems. In this context, the emphasis on the interests of developed countries indicates that regulatory institutions recognize economic interests above social consequences of the presented problem. Hence, the increase of public awareness is crucial for the improvements in counterfeit drug regulation.