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Postgrad Med J 85:251-256 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2008.073213
  • Review

Spurious and counterfeit drugs: a growing industry in the developing world

  1. C S Gautam1,
  2. A Utreja1,
  3. G L Singal2
  1. 1
    Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Chandigarh, India
  2. 2
    Government of Haryana, Health Department, Panchkula, India
  1. Professor C S Gautam, Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Sector 32, Chandigarh 160030, India; csgautam_06{at}yahoo.co.in
  • Received 13 July 2008
  • Accepted 13 November 2008

Abstract

Spread of spurious/counterfeit/substandard drugs is a modern day menace which has been recognised internationally, especially so in developing countries. The problem assumes added significance in view of rapid globalisation. The market of spurious and counterfeit drugs is a well-organised, white collar crime. Poverty, high cost of medicines, lack of an official supply chain, legislative lacunae, easy accessibility to computerised printing technology, ineffective law enforcement machinery, and light penalties provide the counterfeiters with an enormous economic incentive without much risk. The consequences of the use of such medicines may vary from therapeutic failure to the occurrence of serious adverse events and even death. Proper drug quality monitoring, enforcement of laws and legislation, an effective and efficient regulatory environment, and awareness and vigilance on part of all stakeholders can help tackle this problem.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None declared.