Report takes stock of child death toll from fake meds

Substandard and fake medicines account for hundreds of thousands of child deaths every year, according to scientists led by US National Institutes of Health academics.

The team call for a new international effort to curb a global ‘pandemic’ of substandard and falsified drugs that kill more than 250,000 children each year and siphon an estimated $200bn from the economies of developing nations.

The overall findings of the research – published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene – won’t come as a major surprise to those who monitor the news flow on falsified medicines, although the scale of the death toll may be an eye-opener.

Among the conclusions drawn are that fake malaria drugs alone cause up to 155,000 children to die every year with a similar number dying from low-quality or counterfeit antimicrobial drugs prescribed to treat pneumonia.

When it comes to deliberate falsification with criminal intent, the most targeted drugs are antimalarials – and particularly artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) – as well as drugs for treating cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other noncommunicable conditions.

The authors call for more support for a drug surveillance program managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and for adding a milestone to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in which governments would guarantee that, by 2030, at least 90 per cent of medicines sold in their countries are high quality.

They also seek support for developing affordable tools for testing drug quality at the point of sale, and they recommend a multilateral treaty on "medicine crime" and drug quality.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top