Qualification and re-qualification of suppliers and customers are a fundamental part of Good Distribution Practice (GDP). The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) expects organisations to have qualification and re-qualification procedures implemented as part of a quality management system. Using online resources and publicly available databases is established as a standard requirement during this process.
In this context, a new post, entitled “Qualifications of suppliers and customers online: reliable or fake news?” has been published in the MHRA Inspectorate blog. The article dated 21 December 2021 was written by Emanuela Krasteva and Peter Brown. It summarizes what to look out for and how to report any suspected fraudulent activity.
In the post, it is pointed out that „online resources provide a certain degree of confidence for conducting independent checks on licence details, such as company name, company number, site name, site address, authorised licensable activities, authorised categories of products to be handled on site and contact information.“ Nevertheless, one should be aware that using information that is easily available to everyone may involve a high risk.
The post gives several examples of attempts of false representation, that have come to MHRA's attention in recent months:
- Fake websites whose domain name closely resembled the name of genuine wholesalers,
- Bogus email address purporting to be from a genuine company containing screenshots of signatures of actual company employees,
- Fake LinkedIn accounts, where the fraudsters pretended to be employees of real companies in an attempt to obtain medicines.
In general, companies should be mindful when publishing specific information, such as authorisations issued by regulatory bodies, online and making it accessible to everyone. In addition, „any suspicions of fraudulent activity or attempts to impersonate a licence holder should be reported to the competent authority and your local police."
To read the full article, please see the MHRA Inspectorate blog entitled "Qualifications of suppliers and customers online: reliable or fake news?"