1. Authority to open the special account “Seminar on the future training of pharmacists in Europe” was granted at the 519th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies in its composition restricted to the Representatives of the member states of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, held on 19-20 October 1994 (see CM/Del/Dec(94)519, item 6.1). The account has been extended several times since then2, the latest until 31 December 2004.
2. A change of name and extension of the scope of the special account “Seminar on the future training of pharmacists in Europe” to “Training of pharmacists and activities enhancing safety and quality of pharmaceutical practice in Europe” to include also the problem of counterfeit medicines was authorised in 2003.
3. The special account holds at the date of writing the following two balances:
- the initial special account for the holding of Seminars: a balance of € 2.890, earmarked for the organisation and holding of future seminars (see below under 6.d) ;
- the voluntary contribution by the Netherlands: a balance of € 11.696, earmarked for the activity “minimising the public health risk posed by counterfeit medicines” (see below under 6.a, b., c.).
4. The above mentioned Project on counterfeit medicines was initiated by the Committee of Experts on Pharmaceutical Questions in 2003.
5. The project represents an approach towards implementing the Committee of Ministers' Resolution AP (2001) 2 concerning the pharmacist's role in the framework of health security, which stipulates in paragraph 8 “…Counterfeit pharmaceuticals pose real threats. In order to combat these dangers, the authorities, manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacists and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations must co-operate…”. The project is also fully in line with and further supported by the PACE Recommendation 1673 (2004) “ Counterfeiting: problems and solutions”, where the Parliamentary Assembly notes in para 1 “…with concern the rapidly increasing incidence of counterfeit goods in Europe, – a phenomenon which places customers' health and well-being at risk,…”.
6. The project consists of:
a. developing outlines for a harmonised legislation applicable to counterfeit medicines in the member states (this item was carried out with regard to the Partial Agreement member states in 2004) ;
b. developing a model for a risk management procedure;
c. awareness-raising and training in risk management for concerned health and law enforcement specialists;
d. creating a platform for exchange of information and elaborating rapid alert systems.
7. Additional funding of approximately € 40 000 would be necessary to complete the project items, particularly item c. which encompasses the organisation of a multisectoral seminar on counterfeit medicines in 2005 .
8. Funding is expected through voluntary contributions of Council of Europe member states, associations and foundations. Sponsors would be selected in a way as to respect the Council of Europe's principles and independence.