We live in a world that requires us to adapt to changes quickly. 2019 was a remarkable year in a number of respects. Brexit is an event that definitely deserves the status of an important historical milestone. However, the global spread of COVID-19 that started in 2019 in China – a place quite distant to us Estonians in our everyday life – has had an even greater, extraordinary impact on our lives. In most cases it seems that until we are directly affected by the materialisation of risks, we think we are immune. But we are not! These few examples illustrate the fact that we live in the moment and often cannot even predict the near future.
COVID-19 has significantly changed the world and, in addition to different aspects of economy and technology, has made us think about the development of medicinal products and their availability. As well as their authenticity. China has decided to start producing generic medicines themselves. This is probably partly related to the spread of COVID-19. As we all know, a large number of things are produced in China today. Some are excellent and some not so excellent. There was a time when things produced in Japan were, in many areas, synonymous with bad quality. Japan learned from this and incorporated technologies that took their production to world-class level. However, there are two sides to every coin. At times, the quality was so good that the technology became morally obsolete even though it still worked flawlessly. For example, the sound equipment produced at the end of the last century. There is nothing really wrong with that, but the quality is, of course, reflected in the price and that in turn affects the market for new products, i.e. the circulation speed of products. China is also striving for better quality, which is definitely positive. It is too early to say today how it will affect the global market and the availability of medicinal products if China starts to develop its own pharmaceutical industry. Will it create new risks regarding the authenticity of medicinal products that we should already take into account today or will it reduce them?
2019 was the year the Medicines Verification System was launched, and it was also a challenge for the technical operation of the system. In addition to technical preparedness, the preparedness of all people to implement the new system and to reorganise their operational processes accordingly must be highlighted. It is true that every system needs some time to establish itself. The need to reduce the amount of false positive alerts has proven to be the most important issue in regard to the implementation of the verification of authenticity of medicines. On the other hand, shared pain brings people together and we are pleased to say that the cooperation in the implementation and live use of the system has been successful with all parties. This year, we are faced with new challenges, one of which is definitely ending the transition period in Estonia, but I believe that we have created a solid foundation and can successfully work together to improve the system.
– Raul Mill, Chariman of the board of REKS