The world's major drug companies have been accused of turning a blind eye to the multibillion-dollar trade in fake medicine that has resulted in an explosion of child malaria deaths in developing countries.
According to the British Independent newspaper, the problem has been particularly acute in Africa, with anti-malarial drugs faked on an industrial scale. One of the world's leading experts on malaria, Prof Nick White of Oxford University, estimates that malaria causes more than one million deaths each year of which 90% are children.
He said that counterfeit medicine was a major reason why malaria had become, over the past 30 years, Africa's biggest child killer, 'from an illness that used to be easily treated with medicines'.
Some of the fake drugs contain no medicine at all, but others have tiny traces of the real ingredients - which leads to another, potentially bigger problem as it allows the malaria parasite to build up resistance to the drug.
Read further here.
Hell's Teeth! What a catastrophe... especially in developing societies where there isn't enough money to correct the "mistakes" or alternatively sue the pants off the companies making these counterfeits. Me, I would kick them out of Africa - but there's no money for that even.
I can only begin to imagine what would happen if some idiot company started making counterfeit ARV's. We already have enough of a resistance problem.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 10% of medicines available in developing countries is fake with prevalence higher where regulatory control is weakest.
All of a sudden, I'm grateful that our Medicines Control Council (MCC) are such painful, pedantic regulators! What the hell is going on north of the border?