Cheap Generic Drugs from Emerging Markets Risky

July 7, 2011
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Poorly made medicines are a greater threat than counterfeit medications, according to Roger Bate and Julissa Milligan of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. They write:

Poorly made medicines are a greater threat than counterfeit medications, according to Roger Bate and Julissa Milligan of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. They write:

Patients in emerging markets want greater access to medicines, but supplying medicines cheaply is proving problematic. Part of the difficulty is the proliferation of illegal counterfeits in the poorest markets. Yet our new research shows that substandard medicines—those legally but poorly produced—pose an equally dangerous threat to patients.

Production flaws in developing countries will only be exacerbated by lower quality chemicals inputs from China, the world’s largest chemical supplier. Ingredients from India and China are now found in 80 percent of American pharmaceuticals and probably in higher volumes elsewhere.

Meanwhile, African manufacturers performed worst, yielding 8.3 percent failures overall, followed by Chinese, Vietnamese, and small Indian producers. In emerging markets, domestically made products were far more likely to fail than imported products.