During the mid-2000s, Myanmar had about 600,000 cases of malaria yearly. In early 2005, when a 23 year old male was diagnosed with Malaria, doctors quickly prescribed Artesunate, a common drug used to treat malaria even until today. After a few days, malaria symptoms should disappear.
But he fell into a coma, his kidneys started failing and malarial parasites in his blood count went higher. Doctors gave him a more powerful dose of Artesunate injected directly into his bloodstream. The malaria then infected his brain and he died that week.
This is one of the many cases of deaths caused by fake drugs.
During a conference organized by Sharp Rees Stealy Medical Group that was attended by Joyce, CEO of AgilisIT, it was mentioned that fake drugs were being shipped into the US by the truckload, from all around the world and have already made their way into online and local pharmacies.
These pills that are often manufactured in awfully dirty make-shift factories in 3rd world countries and are often just sugar pills, or contain chemicals that are not fit for human consumption.
Counterfeit drugs, unlike counterfeit computer equipment, poses not only a threat to your health, but also to the balance sheets of pharmaceutical companies. The Pharmaceutical Security Institute reported that between 2011 and 2015, the global incidence of drug counterfeiting increased by 51%, with 2015 seeing the highest levels of counterfeiting to date – a 38% increase when compared with 2014.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) is raising new questions in its latest special report about some trade partners’ practices of limiting imports of foreign pharmaceutical and medical devices, as well as major concerns about counterfeit drugs and devices coming from four countries.
For the pharmaceutical and device industries, USTR highlights particular issues in Algeria, India, and Indonesia with regards to their “discriminatory, nontransparent or otherwise trade-restrictive” practices that “have the potential to hinder market access in the pharmaceutical and medical device sector, and potentially result in higher healthcare costs.”members.
In addition, “unreasonable regulatory approval delays and non-transparent reimbursement policies can impede a company’s ability to enter the market, and thereby discourage the development and marketing of new drugs and other medical products,” the USTR says, noting that it encourages trade partners to provide appropriate levels of transparency, procedural and due process protections, and opportunities for public engagement.
The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) offered general support for the USTR report on Monday, though it also said certain elements from the report “could limit competition from safe and effective generic drugs and biosimilars.” The industry group urged the USTR “to utilize more objective criteria” to identify countries that “do not provide adequate and effective intellectual property rights.’ Such criteria could be based on the failure of countries to comply with TRIPs obligations and/or in bilateral and regional agreements entered into by those countries.”