Counterfeit drugs risk lives, threaten pharmaceutical industry in India

BBC News examines how counterfeit or substandard medicines are threatening India's fast-growing pharmaceutical industry, writing, "Worth over $12 billion, the industry is expected to grow more than four-fold in the coming decade," but fake drugs in the system are risking both the lives of patients and the reputation of drug makers. While the scale of the problem in India is unknown, "[c]ounterfeit drugs are a $200 billion industry worldwide," and "[w]ith manufacturing costs nearly 40 percent cheaper than other countries, the authorities are worried India could become an easy target for counterfeiters," the news service reports.

According to BBC, the Indian government "has launched a campaign against counterfeit medicines," and a "committee set up by the Indian Ministry of Health has approved a proposal to put [two-dimensional] barcodes and scratch-off labels on medicines" that will allow users to use mobile technology to quickly confirm whether a medication is real. "Leveraging the extensive mobile usage in the country and cloud computing, the pharma industry hopes to increase their credibility" while "[c]omputer companies see a huge business potential in offering technology solutions to the whole industry," the news service writes (Kannan, 10/11).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


  1. Denis Denis Canada says:

    The counterfeiting of drugs in former 3rd world countries that are putting us all at risk should be of no surprise. Looking to solve the the problem with new label technology is only going to scratch the surface. The real issues lie deeper. Most likely in an economy that is trying to westernize itself too quickly. These surges are usually followed by crime. A GMP label manufacturing plant should have the necessary Quality Assurance practices that keep the drug company and public safe.

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