20th okt, 2009

200.000 people die annually because of fake malaria medicine

The Smithsonian has a lengthy article called “The Fatal Consequences of Counterfeit Drugs” which is a good read. 


In the article a WHO estimated is quoted that states that 20 % of the 1 million malaria deaths are due to counterfeit drugs. It is also estimated that the global trade in fake pharmaceuticals will reach $75 billion in 2010. 


The article tells a really interesting story of how the authorities in 2005 used plant experts to determine the location of the factory producing fake pills from studying spores extracted from the pills. The spores pointed towards a region in china. Comparing the location of the sellers of the fake pharmaceuticals the authorities compiled a map revealing two separate distribution networks. Unfortunately the results were only capture of little fish. The production site was never found. The story of the investigation however is very facinating.


An interesting fact is that in 2005 2 researchers wrote to 21 major drug manufacturers, asking what their policy would be if they discovered that their products were being counterfeited. Only 3 replied that they would contact drug regulatory authorities. In the article it is said that pharma companies have an incentive not to report fakes as it harm their overall business and trust of their products.

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