Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Seeking Action to Combat a Major Child Killer: A Global `Pandemic’ of Fake Drugs

There is urgent need for a new international effort to combat a global surge in poor quality and outright fake medicines that kill more than 250,000 children each year and extract some $200 billion from developing country economies, according to an exhaustive analysis published today in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

The assessment from a team of experts from the public and private sector concludes that a “pandemic” of falsified and substandard drugs for treating malaria, pneumonia, hypertension and other diseases has become a public health emergency. It cites evidence that fake malaria drugs alone cause up to 155,000 children to die every year and that a similar number die from low-quality or counterfeit antimicrobial drugs prescribed to treat pneumonia.

The study also notes that fake drugs, often peddled over the Internet and sometimes linked to organized crime and terrorist groups, include medicines for heart disease, erectile dysfunction and cancer, along with fake prescription opioids.

The authors call for more support for a drug surveillance program managed by the World Health Organization and for adding a milestone to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in which governments would guarantee that, by 2030, at least 90 percent of medicines sold in their countries are high quality. The authors also seek support for developing affordable tools for testing drug quality at the point of sale, and they recommend a multilateral treaty on “medicine crime” and drug quality.

See: http://www.ajtmh.org/content/journals/10.4269/ajtmh.18-0981

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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