Substandard, Counterfeit AIDS Drugs Could ‘Flood’ Developing World, Global Fund Executive Director Says
The mass rollout of antiretroviral drugs in developing countries could lead to a "floo[d]" of substandard and counterfeit drugs, Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said on Tuesday, Reuters reports. "One of the things we are going to see, very surely, is a lot of bogus medicine coming in the slipstream. ... [T]he market will be flooded with these products, be sure," Feachem said at the International AIDS Forum in London. The World Health Organization earlier this month said that drug counterfeiting was widespread and "often leads to death," according to Reuters. For example, substandard medicines are thought to account for 8.5% of all drugs on the market in Thailand, and a recent WHO survey of antimalarial medications in seven African countries found 20% to 90% of the drugs to be substandard. Feachem said that the problem could get worse as antiretrovirals are delivered to African nations and other countries with high HIV prevalence, according to Reuters. Although the generic drugs expected to be used in treatment plans have driven down the cost of treatment, the same countries that produce the generic drugs are the primary sources of substandard and counterfeit drugs, Reuters reports (Hirschler, Reuters, 11/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.