Opinion | Global Regulation of Essential Medicines Is a Dangerous Mess

Logo The New York TimesThe New York Times
2023-09-11 09:01:33  • 7 mins

In April, a pregnant woman died at a hospital in Kandy, Sri Lanka, of complications blamed on an anaesthetic manufactured in India. A few months earlier, Indian-made cough syrups were linked to the deaths of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan. Substandard medicines also were found this year in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia before they could do any harm.

These incidents in far-flung corners of the world reveal the contours of a global crisis of unsafe drugs that inordinately affects poor countries. Over the past two decades, India emerged as the pharmacy of the developing world, the leading manufacturer of generic drugs and medicines, producing more than 20 percent of the worlds supply. This has helped to make a range of medicines available to poor patients around the world who previously had to do without.

Today, however, India stands accused of distributing death, as its regulators fail to prevent the manufacture and export of substandard medicines. But this isnt entirely a made-in-India problem. There is a dirty secret in global health: Rich countries get quality medicines, the poor sometimes get poison.

Continue read on nytimes.com

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