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 Health is Wealth
 
India's Paradoxical Approach To Fake Drugs
CDSCO, United States Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Roger Bate
The Indian Government has published the results of its survey of fake drugs. It was said that only 11 of the 24,136 drugs were fake. There are several mistakes in the report, that one is left wondering about the results.Nowhere in the report are the key details of drug collection protocols established. The percentage of sub standard drugs is much more than the Government has let out, writes Roger Bate in CDSCO.

At long last the Indian Government has published the results of its survey of fake drugs. It confirms the headline its been pushing for nearly a year, that almost none of the 24,136 samples collected were fake. Only 11 drugs were fake according to the Report on Countrywide Survey For Spurious Drugs, published by CDSCO the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation http://www.cdsco.nic.in/REPORT_BOOK_13-7-10.pdf

...

While I have little doubt that the laboratories faithfully reported the results accurately, the report is really about overcoming the “apprehensions about the availability of safe and genuine medicines in India” as the report asserts.  And as the Preface says: “It is expected that people at large will be immensely benefited through this report and their belief in availability of quality medicines in India will be assured and strengthened”.

...

The report contains telling errors. On page 3 the first table refers to samples “Not of Sub-Standard Quality”, when it means “Not of Standard Quality”. This repeats the same mistake from a report published in 2003 – in other words the tables were just transposed across and no one bothered to check whether the data and its representation made sense.  For a report of this import, there are also rather a lot of typographical and grammatical errors.

But ignoring these mistakes, one is left to wonder about the results too.

...

Yet by 2009 (when this latest Government study was actually undertaken), we are expected to believe that the drug quality problem has almost vanished, across all of India.

...

Once the headline figure of essentially zero fakes was announced, similar complaints were made about this latest assessment, but since the sampling protocol had not been seen, no one would say so on the record.

...

There is a lot of information about how many samples should be collected and which brands. And that is the first red flag, 61 brands were to be sampled, but that included only three brands of ciprofloxacin and one for chloroquine. From my own assessments, there are many brands for each of these therapeutic drug types, which means  any pharmacist asked for Cipro would be suspicious if the covert buyer demanded only specific brands, since that is not how most real shoppers work. If you’re sick and you need a drug type you will most likely take what is on offer. Even if you leave the pharmacy it raises a flag amongst pharmacists who talk to each other and may well be alerted to a covert buying operation - especially  if you’re buying 7 or 8 types of drugs, as covert buyers were.

...

In a telling paragraph in the Conclusion the report says:

...

Yet nowhere in the report are the key details of drug collection protocols established.

...

There are many good drug producers in India and many good products, but there is also a small number of bad drugs, probably a few percentage points, but not a tiny fraction of a percent as this Government mirage tries to sell. This report will not increase trust in India’s drugs across the globe, if anything it will do the opposite.

This article was published in the CDSCO on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Author : Roger Bate is a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute , a U.S. think-tank
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