Drug Stores Better at Detecting Counterfeit Drugs than Government

May 26, 2012
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American Enterprise Institute scholar, Roger Bate, tested the quality of the antibiotic drug, Ciprofloxacin, purchased in 18 low-to-middle income countries.  Of the 1,437 samples tested, more than half were either substandard (9.88%) or counterfeit (41.5%). Counterfeit drugs both failed a visual test and contained no active ingredient. By comparison, substandard drugs are those that passed a visual test but contained less than 80% of the stated active ingredient in lab tests.

American Enterprise Institute scholar, Roger Bate, tested the quality of the antibiotic drug, Ciprofloxacin, purchased in 18 low-to-middle income countries.  Of the 1,437 samples tested, more than half were either substandard (9.88%) or counterfeit (41.5%). Counterfeit drugs both failed a visual test and contained no active ingredient. By comparison, substandard drugs are those that passed a visual test but contained less than 80% of the stated active ingredient in lab tests.

Bate’s team found that product registration – that is, registering a drug product with the local government – was associated with higher quality than non-registered drugs. However, a better indicator a drug was not counterfeit was its availability at chain drug stores. In an attempt to maintain a good reputation, chain drug stores policed their suppliers and were better able to keep their inventory free of counterfeits than were local government regulations.

  

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