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Essay on the Counterfeit Drugs Problem

0 September 07 2014, 14:19 in Drug Addiction Essays

Essay on the Counterfeit Drugs Problem

Recently, it was reported that a fake version of Avastin, a drug famous for cancer medication, has been circulating in the United States. The discovery is very alarming considering that it was previously believed that counterfeit drugs are available only in third-world countries where regulation is lax. Nowadays, it is believed that the problem of counterfeit drugs has become worse and that it is not only available in third-world countries but in developed countries as well.

Counterfeit drugs refer to medicines, brand name and generic, which are fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source (Ksenjia Vitale, 2011, p. 204).

Ksenjia Vitale said that 15% of all drugs sold globally are fake. However, given the advancements in Internet technology, it is believed that the problem has grown exponentially. Studies say that the problem of the circulation of counterfeit drugs in the market was first mentioned at the WHO Conference of Experts on Rational Drug Use in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985.

Medicines are very important. Everybody gets sick and they need medicines as cure for their illness. Taking this into account, the prevalence of counterfeit drugs is a serious problem in many countries. For its victims, they are not only being cheated out of their hard-earned money but the use of counterfeit drugs may result to failure in their treatment. In some cases where the need for the drugs is a matter of urgency, use of counterfeit drugs can lead to the death of the victim. There have also been cases of patients dying after having taken a counterfeit drug with active ingredient that can seriously affect their health.

In the macro-perspective, the public confidence in the use of drugs may be affected. Who will now trust the physicians, drug manufacturers and distributors if the fake drugs continue to spread in the United States? Considering that it is very difficult to detect counterfeit drugs, how can an average American know if the drug he is using for his cancer treatment is fake or not?

The World Health Organization identified several factors that contribute to the prevalence of counterfeit drugs.

  1. Lack of Political Will and Commitment
  2. Lack of Appropriate Drug Legislation
  3. Absence of or weak drug regulation
  4. Weak enforcement and penal sanctions
  5. Corruption and Conflict of Interest
  6. High Price of Medicines
  7. Inefficient Cooperation between Stakeholders

The discovery of the prevalence of counterfeit drugs in the United States should awaken the government agencies and public health officials. The problem is real and it is here in the United States. Efforts should be done so that laws are passed making the punishment of those who will be found liable more serious. Government agencies should strive to chase down the syndicates involve in this operation. Something should be done now to avoid a situation where the problem could become worse.

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