Counterfeit drugs continue to be a dangerous issue in low-middle income areas. Issues were more evident after the 1930’s when anti-freeze was mixed with anti-bacterial without taking into consideration the possible and deadly side effects.
Andy Stergachis, PhD, MS, BPHARM, a University of Washington professor in Epidemiology and Global Health, discussed efforts to reduce the use of counterfeit drugs. Stergachis said, “80% of the pharmaceutical chemicals that make up our drugs come from other countries.”
The challenges that accompany international marketing of pharmaceutical ingredients are the adherence to international standards, control of supply chains, infrastructure deficits and lack of surveillance, just to name a few.
Even so, one of the subjects of counterfeit medication is malaria. The consequence of producing counterfeit malaria medication is that malaria becomes resistant to the medication. “Fake drug makers and their consumers ignore the fact that malaria medication needs to be taken in combination to prevent resistance and succeed in its cure,” said Stergachis
Regardless, medicine continues to be among the most important health interventions but the fight against counterfeit drugs will need to continue. Doing so can prevent further increase of infectious disease cases, decrease the loss of malaria medication efficacy, and decrease the side effects of combination drugs.