India's Fake Drugs are a Real Problem
IPN Opinion article
Wall Street Journal Asia
The Food and Drug Administration of the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh recently conducted a series of raids throughout its region to uncover counterfeit drugs. The raids yielded large quantities of substandard medicines and resulted in several arrests.
This evidence of India's fake drug trade jibes with what I've found in several surveys. In 2009, I looked at five important medicines being sold at 52 different pharmacies in Delhi and Chennai, using covert shoppers. In Dehli, 12% of the pills were substandard, and 5% in Chennai. About 2% of the pills contained no active ingredient. The others did but it had degraded, probably because the pills had expired and been repackaged with new labels; some may have degraded through poor storage.
And according to an investigation I just conducted with the Legatum Institute and the International Policy Network, the situation is just as bad with at least some of Delhi's wholesalers. We found that 7% of all tested samples were substandard, and 3.6% were likely counterfeit. It's probable that the drug supply in poorer areas is even more contaminated.