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SYNERGIA FOUNDATION

Indian women die after state-run mass sterilization campaign goes wrong Drug Counterfeiting

Impact Beyond Borders

TM


SYNERGIA FOUNDATION

History repeats itself, first as tragedy,second as farce. Karl Marx

The recent tragedy in Chhattishgarh where 14 women died after a state run Mass sterilization campaign is just another story added to the long list of tragedies as a direct result of Drug counterfeiting. How many more has to fall prey to this social evil? Based on the findings of an expert panel who looked into the incident two directors of “Mahawar Pharma Private Limited”, a Raipur-based pharmaceutical firm were arrested in connection with supply of alleged spurious drugs to the government-organised family planning camps in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur district last week, leading to death of 14 women, police said on Friday. “The company manufactured the controversial drug, Ciprofloxacin, which had allegedly been administered to the unfortunate victims of the free family planning camps held in Bilaspur district recently. Incidentally, the company operated in an upscale area without a notice board, although its products have been procured by the state health department in past one decade. Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals The pharmaceutical industry today is dealing with one of the most serious threats to the integrity of its supply chain - drug counterfeiting. This deadly trade puts at risk the health of families who take for granted that the prescription medicines they buy are safe and effective. The fake drugs range from placebo starch pills to products containing anything from cement powder to more harmful substances, or even the wrong quantity of an active ingredient. Whatever the nature of the counterfeit, there is a clear risk of serious and even fatal harm being caused to individuals. Counterfeit drug incidents around the world have caused an estimated 700,000 deaths from malaria and tuberculosis alone, reports the International Policy Network. As the years go by, the death toll due to counterfeit drugs continues to rise. Yet, this global trade continues to grow steadily. It is estimated that about 12% of pharmaceuticals on the global market, 30% in India and up to 40% in China are counterfeit.

Impact Beyond Borders

TM


SYNERGIA FOUNDATION Implications of Drug Counterfeiting The deadly implications of counterfeit drugs are well understood to be a central challenge to the integrity of public health systems worldwide, as well as a direct threat to our individual health and welfare. Drug counterfeiting is particularly abhorrent as it takes advantage of people already encumbered with disease and poor living conditions. The counterfeit drugs contain very low levels of the active ingredient or API, too much API, or wrong API, which make them dangerous and potentially fatal. Low levels of active ingredients are particularly worrisome as they can contribute to the development of drug-resistant strains of disease which can, in turn, lead to outbreaks of epidemics in poorer parts of the world, where unfortunately, the initial steps to subside the epidemics are taken with the help of counterfeit drugs. For example, in Niger, during a meningitis epidemic in 1995, over 50,000 people were inoculated with fake vaccines on the assumption that they were safe. This resulted in over 2,500 deaths. Counterfeiters evade legitimate taxation and quality controls as well. They also threaten to destroy corporate brands and undermine public confidence in health infrastructures. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, the annual cost of counterfeiting to pharmaceutical companies is estimated to be over US$35 billion. Established pharmaceutical companies also battle an existential problem when they are faced with massive product recalls and threat of lawsuits due to counterfeiting. The average drug recall cost may be sufficient to wipe out a mid-sized Pharma company. For example, in 2013, Ranbaxy, India's No. 1 pharmaceutical manufacturer by sales, was fined $500 million in the US after it was found guilty of misrepresenting clinical generic drug data and selling adulterated drugs to the US. The Synergia Story Since the 90s, Synergia has helped a number of international organizations build resilient end-to-end supply chain solutions of high quality generic pharmaceuticals and medical devices. As a pro-bono humanitarian initiative in 1995, we collaborated with Nobel Prize winner, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to validate antiretroviral manufacturing facilities of Indian generic companies, enabling access to cost-effective quality antiretroviral generics from India at a nearly 60% cost reduction, bringing about a breakthrough in global AIDS treatment provision to millions of afflicted patients around the globe. This also paved the path for establishing parallel supply chains for anti-malarial and anti-TB drugs. Synergia was responsible for procurement, logistics and distribution of over 500 relief projects of NGOs like the World Health Organization, Médecins Sans Frontières, Pharmaciens Sans Frontières, International Committee of the Red.

Impact Beyond Borders

TM


SYNERGIA FOUNDATION What next? Having spent over a decade building our expertise in management of end-to-end supply chains for the pharmaceutical industry, the foundation engages with experts in academia and industry to explore in depth some of the major global challenges to businesses and how this affects the public at large. The Synergia Foundation seeks deeper insights into the threat that drug counterfeiting poses to both the individual and the nation sand is now on a mission to increase awareness amongst the public, government and industry in India about it. Let us not wait until it is too late and one of our own is affected by this deadly menace.

Impact Beyond Borders

TM

Drug counterfeiting  

Indian women die after state - run mass sterilization campaign goes wrong

Drug counterfeiting  

Indian women die after state - run mass sterilization campaign goes wrong

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