According to a new research report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated one out of ten medicines in India is either “substandard or falsified”. These medicines are harmful to human health. They not only fail to treat or prevent diseases but can also cause serious illness or even death, according to WHO.
The WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom said, “Substandard and falsified medicines particularly affect the most vulnerable communities” as reported by IANS.
The report pointed that the WHO has received 1,500 reports of cases of substandard or falsified products since 2013. Among these, antibiotics and antimalarials are the most commonly reported.
The report said, “This is likely just a small fraction of the total problem and many cases may be going unreported. For example, only 8 percent of reports of substandard or falsified products to WHO came from the WHO Western Pacific Region, 6 percent from the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, and just 2 percent from the WHO South-East Asia Region.”
Fake medicines promote antimicrobial resistance in people, who can pass on the mutant infection while travelling abroad, the report suggests. And it will become impossible to treat such bacteria or virus resistant to the medicine.
The authorized manufacturers of both generic and innovators pharmaceutical products suffer financially and reputation-wise due to substandard and falsified medical products.
Fake medical products damage the very fabric of the society and strain the budgets of households and health systems.
The report further added “The ones that survive will be the ones that have mutated enough to survive low doses of the medicine. Usually, they do not reproduce very quickly. But with all the more susceptible strains killed by the weak medicines, they have room to multiply and spread to more people.”