The Global Impact of Fake Medicine

Substandard and counterfeit medicines are a global, growing, and increasingly deadly menace. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration reported the deaths of ninety-five Americans from tainted heparin, a blood-thinning medicine believed to have been "intentionally contaminated" in China; this spring, at least eighty-four Nigerian children died after ingesting teething medicine laced with diethylene glycol, a common component of antifreeze.

In addition to posing life-threatening dangers, substandard medicines increase drug resistance, threatening the viability of future treatment for diseases like HIV and malaria; counterfeit drugs also undermine incentives for R&D of new drugs. And while bilateral and international health initiatives spend billions of taxpayer dollars on pharmaceutical drugs for the developing world every year, oversight is minimal, and little direct quality testing is done on the drugs procured.

What are the best, most cost-effective ways for identifying counterfeit and substandard drugs in the field? How can consumers, regulatory bodies, industry, and international donor agencies work together to combat their deadly impact?

Please join experts from government, industry, and the international donor community for discussions on the extent of the problem, on what the public and private sectors are currently doing to combat it, and on how they can leverage innovative technological and policy solutions in the future. Panelists will include Ilisa Bernstein, director of pharmacy affairs at the FDA; Patrick Ford, senior director of global security for Pfizer; Jeffrey Gren, director of health and consumer goods at the U.S. Department of Commerce; Sonali Korde, a key player in the $1.2 billion President's Malaria Initiative; Scott LaGanga, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines; Patrick Lukulay, director of drug quality and information at U.S. Pharmacopeia, the official NGO responsible for setting quality standards for all medicines manufactured in the United States; Paul Orhii, director general of Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control; and Richard Tren, founder and director of the health policy and advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria. Moderating the two panels will be, respectively, AEI's Roger Bate and Michael Miller, who helped launch permanent FDA offices in China and India.

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