Fake drugs 'kill' 300 thousand more children in the world

Counterfeit drugs are increasingly rampant in the world, including in Indonesia. Recent research shows fake and low-quality medicines that continue to surge make hundreds of thousands of children die each year.

"We are talking about 300 thousand — at least — children who have died because of drugs distributed by criminals," said researcher from the United States National Health Institute Joel Breman, quoted from CNN.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has established three types of counterfeit and substandard media products. Namely, medical products that deliberately misrepresent the composition and source of drugs, medical products that fail to meet certain quality standards or specifications, and medical products that are not listed or have not been tested and are not approved.

According to a report recently published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the number of counterfeit and substandard medical products continues to increase.

Data from Pfizer Global Security, in 2008 there were 29 of their medical products that were faked in 75 countries. That number in 2018 jumped to 95 fake drugs in 113 countries. It is estimated that fake drugs and below the standard now reach 10 percent of all drugs in circulation in the world.

Breman explained that these fake medicines also caused a lot of harm to middle and low income countries. One of the main concerns is counterfeit antimalarial drugs and cause more than 150 thousand child deaths each year.

The monitoring program for combination antimalarial and artemisinin therapy (often called ACT) found that 25 percent of ACT available in eight African countries was not guaranteed quality. There are only 12 leading companies that have ACT that has been approved, while 185 other manufacturers are in doubt.

Antibiotic drugs to treat pneumonia are also common and cause deaths throughout the world. Pneumonia or respiratory infections are one of the most common diseases for children.

In addition to medicines for children, counterfeit drugs also increase for chronic diseases such as hypertension. The Pharmaceutical Security Institute found that half of the fake drugs in circulation were drugs to treat high blood pressure. Other drugs include medications for heart disease, erectile dysfunction, cancer and pain.

According to Breman, the most common way to sell fake drugs is through the internet. In 2016, it was found that there were 35 thousand online pharmacies. Pfizer Global Security tried to buy 250 Xanax drugs from providers on the internet and found that 96 percent were fake drugs.

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