Poor countries getting fake drugs

by

November 29, 2017

LONDON, England (AP):

About 11 per cent of medicines in developing countries are counterfeit and likely responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of children from diseases like malaria and pneumonia every year, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

It's the first attempt by the UN health agency to assess the problem. Experts reviewed 100 studies involving more than 48,000 medicines. Drugs for treating malaria and bacterial infections accounted for nearly 65 per cent of fake medicines.

WHO's director general said the problem mostly affects poor countries. Between 72,000 and 169,000 children may be dying from pneumonia every year after receiving bad drugs. Counterfeit medications might be responsible for an additional 116,000 deaths from malaria mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Counterfeit drugs include products that have not been approved by regulators, fail to meet quality standards or deliberately misrepresent an ingredient, according to WHO, which published the two reports.

WHO said the cases of fake medicines it found are only "a small fraction" and that problems may be going unreported. The agency estimated countries are spending about US$30 billion on counterfeit drugs.