Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Counterfeit pharmaceutical products in South East Asia

A report on counterfeit pharmaceuticals published by the American Enterprise Institute here called the Deadly World of Fake Drugs provides a highly comprehensive global report on this issue compiled from news reports over the last 10 years or so. IP Komodo summarises some key South East Asia comments below.

In the Philippines estimates vary from 8-30% of pharma products being fake. Fake drugs seen included cardiovascular, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, anti-infective, and anti-inflammatory medications. Many are smuggled too. Counterfeits are imported from India, China, Taiwan, and Pakistan mainly but also Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Colombia, Indonesia, Nepal and Myanmar.  But the vast majority is from China and numerous examples of Chinese arrests during police and NBI raids are provided. Local production of fakes has also been reported too; from 2002–2005, there were 20 cases reported of fake manufacturing.  A rise in raids through the early 2000s is alleged although more recently the Department of Health suggests there has been a decline.

In Thailand the figures for fakes vary, but numerous seizures suggest it is a multi million dollar annual  industry.  Viagra features heavily in the data, but other fakes are prevalent. The porous border areas of Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia are cited as a major gateway. Significant increases in fines have been implemented recently and 2005, police and customs now use GPHF's Minilab, a mobile, compact laboratory, to quickly detect counterfeit and substandard drugs.

In Indonesia the International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (IPMG) estimates that 25 -40% of the pharmaceutical market is fake, increasing in the last 6 years. Common fake medicines include antimalarials, antibiotics, and analgesics. Examples of fake drug seizures provided by the Indonesian Drug and Food Control Agency (BPOM) include substandard amoxicillin and refilled syringes full of with water. The BPOM complains of weak law enforcement and corruption in the judicial system and lenient sentences for counterfeiters as part of the problem.
In Vietnam there is a very large fakes market due to the border with China. These include antibiotics, erectile dysfunction treatments, traditional medications, fake liver disorder drugs,   anti sinusitis products and relabelled generics. Vietnam appears to be a transit route from China to destination markets like Thailand. Smuggling is rife and in the local market there is a problem of unregulated pharma sellers. Weak government capacity to take action appears to be improving over time.


No comments:

Post a Comment