Incidents of counterfeit drugs being passed off as real drugs in actual medical facilities is alarmingly high, according to a recently published report in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, but even more alarming is that many countries may not even be bothering to report incidents of counterfeit medicine.
The study found that of 169 countries, 127 did not report any incidents of counterfeit medicine. Tim Mackey, director of the Global Health Policy Institute says this likely means that many of the countries studied seem to be ignoring the problem altogether.
Counterfeit drugs, the study found, have turned up in places as disparate as small town pharmacies to major clinics in the United States. From 2009 – 2011, the study found just about 1,800 different types of counterfeit medication discovered through just over 1,500 reported “counterfeit incidents” worldwide.
China reported the largest number of counterfeit incidents, followed by Peru, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Ukraine.
The study’s data emphasizes the need for a standardized procedure and system for reporting counterfeit medicine worldwide, Mackey said, especially since 53% of counterfeit drugs fall under “lifesaving-related drug categories.”
“There’s this global drug supply chain, and there’s gaps in it,” Mackey said. “We really need to make this a global priority.”