The World Health Organization in a press statement has reported an estimated 10 percent of drugs in circulation in developing countries are either substandard or falsified.
According to a press statement, the substandard or falsified products are mostly anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics with 42 percent coming from the WHO African region and 21 percent each from the WHO Americas and European regions. In the same vein, the global health agency said it received report of over 15,000 substandard or falsified products since 2003.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said substandard and falsified medicines particularly affect the most vulnerable communities. She added that the government, through various regulatory agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), have been working to control manufacturing, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of drugs, cosmetics and medical devices. Unfortunately, some of these products still make it past regulators into the market.
Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals at WHO, Mariângela Simão said many of the products, like antibiotics, are vital for people’s survival and well-being. She added that falsified medicines puts a threat to antimicrobial resistance.
According to WHO, substandard medical products reach patients when the tools and technical capacity to enforce quality standards in manufacturing, supply and distribution are limited.
“Falsified products, on the other hand, tend to circulate where inadequate regulation and governance are compounded by unethical practice by wholesalers, distributors, retailers and health care workers. A high proportion of cases reported to WHO occur in countries with constrained access to medical products,” the agency added.