Indians at higher risk of getting fake drugs

  • Himani Chandna, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2015 23:56 IST

Indian residents are at a greater risk of getting a fake drug. According to a study by Pharmaceutical Security Institute, a US-based non-profit organisation established by 28 international research-based pharmaceutical manufacturers, India is the third largest country in the world with the most counterfeit drugs in 2014.

The US tops the list followed by China, India and UK. While PSI clarifies that if a country is very active with their drug regulator, they will detect more incidents, however, this may not be applicable to India.

“PSI has found that enforcement efforts in India do not appear to be significant,” Thomas Kubic, president and chief executive officer, PSI told HT over an e-mail. PSI defines counterfeit practice or fake medicines in two forms — one is a genuine drug that has been repackaged, and the other is a placebo containing no active ingredients.

As per industry experts, the global fake-drug industry, worth about $90 billion, causes the deaths of almost 1 million people a year and is contributing to a rise in drug resistance.

Estimates vary on the number of these drugs made in India. But independent estimates range from 12 to 25%.

Also, in 2013, out of the top five countries where counterfeit drugs were found, four were from Asia: China, India, Pakistan and Japan, with US being the only exception. “Briefly, the risk of patients obtaining unsafe medicines is significant due to an increase in the movement of these drugs both within a country and within regions,” PSI said.

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