Fake and Poor Quality Drugs Plague Developing Countries

Air Date: 06/20/2001
Source:
Scientific American
Creator:
Kate Wong
Air/Publish Date:
06/20/2001
Event Date:
06/20/2001
Resource Type:
Article
Copyright:
n/a
Copyright Date:
2001
Clip Length:
-

This 2001 "Scientific American" article reports on substandard and counterfeit or fake drugs and medicines, especially antimalarials, being sold and used in developing countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. Source: Scientific American, June 20, 2001.

Fake and Poor-Quality Drugs Plague Developing Countries

By Kate Wong June 20, 2001

Say what you will about the U.S. health care system, at least when you pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, you can be reasonably sure that the medicine meets the necessary standards. The same cannot be said for drugs in less-developed countries. According to two reports in the current issue of The Lancet, fake and poor-quality drugs are alarmingly common in some African and southeast Asian nations.

In one study, Robert Taylor of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, U.K., and his colleagues studied samples of drugs, including antimalarial, antibacterial and antituberculosis preparations from 35 pharmacies in Nigeria. Nearly half of the 581 samples, they found, contained either too little or too much of the active ingredient. These substandard drugs, the authors note, could lead to "therapeutic failure and select for drug-resistant organisms." In the second study, Paul Newton of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, U.K., and his colleagues analyzed products marketed as the antimalarial drug Artesunate, which they procured from various shops, hospitals, pharmacies and nongovernmental organizations in southeast Asia. More than a third of the 104 samples, the team determined, were actually fake�they did not contain the active ingredient at all.

In a commentary accompanying the reports, Alain Li Wan Po of Aston University in Birmingham, U.K., notes that although policing drug manufacture and distribution will be difficult, governments need to make every effort to protect consumers by implementing quality-assurance procedures, barring offenders from trading, and educating the public about fake and poor-quality products. "Drug companies making genuine products can of course also help by considering affordability in their pricing strategies, and so make fraud less profitable," he adds. "Although optimism is hard to come by in this area, there is hope that the combination of these efforts may yield some success."

Close NBC Learn

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

Videos on this page are not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on the footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games videos are only available to visitors inside the United States due to licensing restrictions on the Olympics footage used in the videos.

FILTERING

If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on on Olympic footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

Subscribers to NBC Learn may download videos and play them back without an internet connection. Please click here to find out more about subscribing or to sign up for a FREE trial (download not included in free trial).

Still have questions?
Click here to send us an email.

Close NBC Learn

Choose your product

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For NBC Learn in Blackboard™ please log in to your institution's Blackboard™ web site and click "Browse NBC Learn"

Close NBC Learn

If you have received a new user registration code from your institution, click your product below and use the "Register now" link to sign up for a personal account.

NBC Learn K-12 product site
NBC Learn Higher Ed product site

For further assistance, please contact our NBC Learn Support Team and we'll be happy to assist you.

Start Your Free
day
Day Trial!