News / Health

Global Trade in Fake Drugs Tops $30 Billion

Global Trade in Fake Drugs Tops $30 Billioni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
October 04, 2012 10:56 PM
The World Health Organization estimates that 25 percent of medicines sold in poor countries are counterfeit. Monitoring by the World Bank and others suggests the overall global trade in fake and substandard drugs is now more than 30 billion dollars per year. Experts are asking for stricter regulation and better international collaboration to check this public health menace. VOA’s Vidushi Sinha has more
Global Trade in Fake Drugs Tops $30 Billion
Vidushi Sinha
The World Health Organization estimates that 25 percent of medicines sold in poor countries are counterfeit.  Monitoring by the World Bank and others suggests  the overall global trade in fake and substandard drugs is now more than $30 billion per year. Experts are asking for stricter regulation and better international collaboration to check this public health menace.

Some 40 percent of the drugs available in many sub-Saharan African and South American countries are either fake or substandard - according to research by the World Bank and international public health groups.  And experts say the widespread circulation of poor-quality or substandard medicines leads to frequent treatment failure and even loss of life.  

Experts working to stop this counterfeit drug traffic met in Washington recently to discuss legal and enforcement solutions.  Louise Shelley is a criminologist and director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University in Virginia.

“We are focusing much more on narcotics trafficking rather than on counterfeits that can do harm to many more individuals than consuming of illicit drugs," said Shelley.

Shelley says sophisticated transnational criminal organizations are behind the manufacture and distribution of drugs that do not conform to proper standards.  She says only a coordinated international effort can deal with organized crime on this scale.

“I think WHO, law enforcement community, consumer organizations, civil society everybody has a role in it," she said.

“You have no guarantee of the safety, efficacy or quality of those products," said Margaret Hamburg.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg heads the Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency which oversees the safety of drugs and food products in the United States.  The FDA took strong action this week against thousands of internet pharmacies selling illegal medical products.

Dr. Patrick Lukulay of The United States Pharmacopeia, an organization that sets standards for medicines, says drug purity needs to be ensured through an international initiative, because the ingredients come from many parts of the world.

“In the US - 80 percent of active ingredients come from either India or China into the US so US companies are vulnerable," said Lukulay.

“In India you have 10,000 manufacturing companies and so although the regulators are making investments it’s difficult to catch up," said Andreas Seiter.

Andreas Seiter is a global pharmaceutical expert.  He says many countries need to increase their regulatory capabilities.

And Michael Bates of  the World Health Organization says it is not only patients who are ignorant about fake medicines. He says many health professionals are also unaware.

“This is a complex international trade.  And we need greater information on the scale and the scope, the harm and economic damage done by this issue to convince the policy makers to commit resources to tackle this," said Bates.

Experts say a worldwide, coordinated effort is needed to deal with the problem - including better monitoring and regulation, upgrades in law enforcement capabilities, and the sharing of testing technology.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid