10% Of Drugs In Financially Backward Countries Including India Are Fake: WHO
A recent study by World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that according to an estimate, one in 10 medical products circulating in low and middle-income countries like India is either “substandard or falsified”.
This kind of report has been published by WHO for the first time in 10 years.
WHO Director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has pointed out that the artificial medicines mostly affect those on the lower rungs of the society. 42% of reports of falsification of drugs have come from African countries, 21% from the two Americas and 21% from the European region.
Statistics show that around 72,000 to 169,000 children may be dying from pneumonia every year on account of fake drugs; 116,000 deaths from malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa are caused due to these substandard medicines.
The WHO report has shown that most of the falsified medicines have been in the area of anti-malarial and antibiotics. The international organisation for health has also received reports of falsified cancer medicines, contraceptives, diabetic medicines and mental health medicines.
The report also mentioned that these statistics are tips of an iceberg and that many cases go unreported.
Counterfeit drugs include unapproved products, drugs that have failed to meet quality standards or deliberately misrepresent an ingredient.
Health impacts of these medicines
The report has pointed out that these fake medicines do not just fail in treating the disease but can, in turn, cause many fatal diseases.
They even lead to antimicrobial resistance in people; this mutant infection can be passed on to others when the infected ones travel to other places. Such bacteria or virus resistant to medicine will become impossible to treat.
Antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines need to be used in the amount to destroy the target pathogens. If a wrongful amount is used, only some of them are killed, and the rest become resistant to the small amount of the medicines, hence becoming more harmful in the process.
Other important impacts
The substandard and falsified medical products also affect the legitimate manufacturers of both generic and innovators of pharmaceutical products. They suffer financially, and their reputation is at stake when criminals fake their products.
The report says that over the past four years, the WHO has received reports of substandard or falsified medical products in all therapeutic categories, covering everything — from cancer medicines to contraception, from antibiotics to vaccines.
The Logical Indian urges the concerned authorities in India as well as the abroad to take necessary steps so that a concerted effort is made to stop the growing market for fake drugs. This is a dangerous problem that needs to be taken care of immediately especially in the age of cheap air travel and mass population movements.