According to scientists there is a global pandemic of fake medicines which poses people across the world with an urgent risk. NIH/Fogarty International Center reported on April 20, 2015, that poor quality medicines have created a real and urgent threat which may undermine years of successful initiatives to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. It has been reported by scientists that approximately 41 percent of specimens of about 17,000 drug samples did not meet quality standards in global studies.
There has been the discovery of falsified and substandard malaria drugs which caused an estimated 122,350 deaths in African children in 2013. Poor quality antibiotics have also been identified which may undermine health and increase antimicrobial resistance. These type of reports have lead to suggestions for policy interventions which would include an international framework and the adoption of stricter national laws directed against counterfeiting of drugs.
Joel Breman, M.D., M.P.H., who is senior scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center, says this serious problem continues to spread across the world. He says there is an urgent need for collaboration among those with an expertise in policy, science, technology, surveillance, epidemiology and logistics, aimed at securing global supply chains.
Jim Herrington, Ph.D., M.P.H., who is director of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings Global Gateway at Chapel Hill, says there is a pervasive and underestimated pandemic of falsified and substandard medicines. This problem is viewed as being particularly serious in low- and middle-income countries where drug regulatory systems are not very strong if they exist at all.It is felt stricter laws are needed to prosecute those who knowingly sell medicines which are counterfeit.
This study has been published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In a supplement to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, which is titled “The pandemic of falsified medicines: laboratory and field innovations and policy perspectives,” 17 articles are presented dealing with the pandemic of poor-quality medicines. This special issue has a goal of alerting scientists, public health authorities, and decision makers to the serious problem of poor-quality drugs. Quick actions must be taken to confront this growing problem. Poorly treated diseases and bad medicines can harm and kill a lot of people quickly.