Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s most prevalent diseases – it kills three people every minute. Although progress has been made in expanding access to treatment, the rate of multi-drug resistant TB cases has nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012. One factor driving drug resistance is poor quality drugs. Several global health organizations have partnered together to find a solution to ensure that safe and effective medicines are used in their treatment programs.
To help illustrate the true threat of counterfeit and substandard medicines, and demonstrate why USP and so many other organizations are working to improve drug quality, we offer this first-hand story about two near-fatal encounters with bad drugs.
PharmaChk, a user-friendly medicine quality detection device, is generating positive outcomes in field testing. Dr. Kennedy Chibwe, senior manager of the Promoting the Quality of Medicines program, explains how this technology may revolutionize the fight against counterfeit and substandard medicines in developing nations.
What are your chances of getting a fake medicine? 1 in 100? 1 in 10? Or 1 in 2? You may or may not think much about fake medicines, but the fact is they exist in practically every corner of the globe. The good news is that we can fight fake medicines together, through public awareness and communication sharing.
Almost 200 years ago, 11 physicians recognized an essential need for consistency and quality regarding medicines and came together to create the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). Since then, USP's focus on quality has expanded to new areas in medicine, pharmacy, dietary supplements, and foods. From quality-related science and research, to field work and consumer tips, our hope is to address a universe of issues – all linked together by a common theme, that the quality of these items has a profound impact on our lives.