Counterfeit drugs put lives at risk
  • | clVN, | June 15, 2013 09:27 AM

The rampant trading and production of fake medicines, which have become difficult to detect, has threatened public health and challenged authorities.


 Authorities find it difficult to detect fake and genuine medicine

HCM City Drug Quality Control Institute reported that in 2010, the city discovered 134 fake drugs out of 813 samples. In 2012, the rate only went down to 71 out of 571 samples.

Fake drugs have little healing power and some of the samples acquired contained harmful substances. The National Institute of Drug Quality Control reported that many of the more specialised drugs, such as Vastarel or Dogmatil are often counterfeit. 

Bui Thi Binh from Thai Binh Medical College said most materials to make these drugs are illegally imported then manufactured here, so many of them carry registration codes.

Dr. Nguyen Hoai Nam added that most patients only become suspicious after they have taken a drug for some time with no results. "It's even difficult for the pharmacists selling these drugs to tell them apart," Nam said.

Dr. Le Quang Loc said that he has had multiple patients with the same illness. Even though they were all given the same prescription, it only had an effect on some. "There are two possible reasons for this; the first is that patients bought substandard drugs and the second is the patients bought drugs that were not prescribed. Many times pharmacists will try to sell similar drugs if they are out of what was prescribed," he said.

In November, 2011, Aline Plancon, head of Interpol's counterfeiting and pharmaceutical crime program, said they discovered 200 kinds of medicines that proved to be fake during a one-week inspection in 81 countries.

At a discussion about fake goods and its effect on consumers' health in the Mekong, Socorro Escalante, medicines policy advisor at the WHO Country Office in Vietnam, said that the number of fake drugs and medical equipment in the Mekong accounted for one third of that in the world. Drugs for cancer are especially exploited in Asia because of their high profit.

According to WHO and US Food and Drug Administration, fake drugs account for more than 10% of the world market and earn over USD60 billion each year.

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