A matter of drug quality

I can’t think of many issues that would engage an INTERPOL officer, a lawyer working with a major humanitarian organisation, and a public health scientist. Counterfeit drugs is certainly one of them.

These views on the trade in fake drugs are part of a collection of articles that includes features and background documents which we published at SciDev.Net a few days ago. These collections – or Spotlights – highlight current issues in development.

Telling apart genuine from fake drugs is a major problem in developing countries, especially in areas where poor health services mean that people often take the risk of buying cheaper medicines without knowing whether what they’re getting is the real thing. The articles explore technologies and policies being developed to help countries deal with the problem. They reveal the successes, but also shortcomings and dangers of what’s being done. The question is how to get ahead – and stay ahead – of an industry that’s adept at taking advantage of technology and loopholes in health infrastructure.