But, during the ensuing Q&A it turns out that â€œknow your customerâ€ actually means â€œdonâ€™t ask/donâ€™t tellâ€ when it comes to one of their most important and largest category of customers â€“ wholesalers, specifically those shady entrepreneurs who go beyond legal EU parallel trade into the clearly illegal realm of marketing non-approved drugs to North America.
Case in point: Rimonabant.
Licensed and legally marketed in the EU under the brand name â€œAcomplia,â€ this medicine is not approved for use in the United States. But type â€œAcompliaâ€ into any US search engine and youâ€™ll find no shortage of Canadian internet pharmacies ready, willing, and able to sell it to any American with a credit card.
How is this possible? Because these pharmacies are buying their supplies from European wholesalers â€“ wholesalers who are getting their supplies (legally) from within the EU and then selling them (illegally) outside the confines of the Treaty of Rome.
When confronted with this shady behavior, Mr. Kobelt was at a loss for words, finally saying that it was an issue that should be brought up with the wholesalers.
Heinz â€“ you canâ€™t have 57 flavors of â€œknow your customer,â€ choosing to "know them" only when it's convenient is a policy that is neither sound nor honest.
As to parallel trade enhancing safety and security, hereâ€™s how Heinz spins that one.
During his presentation he pointed out (correctly) that the recent spate of counterfeit drugs that had infiltrated legitimate UK pharmacies had been discovered by a parallel trader. And thatâ€™s true. But what he didnâ€™t mention is that those same products had already passed through three other parallel traders without being found.
Some victory for drug safety and parallel trade.
Something else that Heinz didnâ€™t share was that, when the parallel trader found the counterfeits, rather than calling the UK authorities as required (the MHRA in this instance), he called the company whose drug had been counterfeited â€“ so that he could get his supplies replaced.
Parallel trade and altruistic commitment to drug safety? Sure.