Today, the World Health Organization released two authoritative reports illustrating the prevalence and impact of poor-quality medicines. According to the reports, one in ten medical products in low- and middle-income countries are either substandard or falsified.
A statement follows from Ronald T. Piervincenzi, CEO, USP:
“We applaud WHO and Dr. Tedros’s leadership on this urgent but too-often ignored issue. Substandard and falsified medicines threaten to roll back advances we have made in global health by contributing to poor health outcomes and increased mortality – particularly among the most vulnerable populations. These new reports, which represent the most comprehensive compilation of data to-date on the subject, underscore the importance of ensuring that quality medicines reach patients who need them.
It is unacceptable that one in ten medical products fails to do its job. And as the reports note, weak reporting systems mean that even these numbers are likely just a small fraction of the total problem.
The costs of poor-quality medicines span well beyond individual deaths and illness. Substandard and falsified medicines contribute to the growing and costly threat of anti-microbial resistance that could cause 10 million deaths by 2050 and cost the world up to $100 trillion. Ensuring quality medicines is an important part of the solution to reduce drug resistance.
The good news is that when it comes to ensuring medicines quality we know a lot about what works. To provide quality-assured medicines for everyone in need, we need to be vigilant in detecting substandard and falsified medicines and removing them from the market. This is especially true in the low- and middle-income countries where the problem is greatest and where we are most at risk of backsliding on recent health gains. I’m hopeful that today’s reports will help call attention and galvanize action towards this cause.”
USP is an independent non-profit organization that collaborates with the world’s top health and science experts to develop high-quality standards that set the bar for manufacturing and distributing safe and effective medicines, supplements and food around the globe. Two billion people world-wide have access to quality medicines, dietary supplements and food as a result of USP’s standards, advocacy and education.
Through initiatives like the Promoting the Quality of Medicines Program, funded by the US Agency for International Development and implemented by USP, and the USP-APEC Center of Excellence in Securing Medicines Quality in the Supply Chain, the organization strengthens medicines quality assurance systems, increases the supply of quality-assured medicines, and develops capacity to detect and remove poor-quality medicines from the market. By sharing scientific expertise and providing technical support and leadership, USP helps local regulators improve and sustain local health systems, and enables manufacturers to supply quality-assured essential medicines for years to come. Through these efforts, USP is able to help prevent and treat diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, and improve maternal, newborn and child health.