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USP joins effort to 'Fight the Fakes'
November 27th, 2013
ROCKVILLE, Md. – The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has teamed up with other global health organizations in "Fight the Fakes," a campaign to boost awareness and stop the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard medicines.
USP said Tuesday that Fight the Fakes encourages organizations and individuals worldwide to help spread the word about this critical health issue. The group noted that counterfeit medications jeopardize public health because they are potentially dangerous products and can increase resistance to real treatments or cause further illness, disability or death.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), counterfeit and substandard medicines have grown into a $431 billion market, up 300% since 2000. WHO estimates that 25% to 60% of the medicine supply in developing countries is substandard or counterfeit.
For example, under the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, quality standards established by USP are enforceable by the Food and Drug Administration for medicines and their ingredients manufactured, imported into or marketed in the United States.
USP noted that it's actively involved in a series of ongoing initiatives to help ensure the quality of medicines.
For example, the group said that the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) program, implemented by USP and funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has played a key role in addressing the challenge of counterfeit drugs.
PQM works to provide technical leadership and build local capacity to regulate and control the quality of medicines in developing countries, as well as increase the supply of quality-assured medicines, combat the availability of substandard and counterfeit medicines and advocate for worldwide quality standards.
USP said that since 2009 it has worked to implement programs in more than 35 countries. Efforts include a sharp reduction in illegal pharmacies in Cambodia and the development of a quality control laboratory in Liberia that's leading the fight to prevent fake medicines from reaching that nation's population.
The group added that its work with USAID and other partners has also helped shed light on the pervasiveness of the problem of quality medicines. According to the PQM and Ghana FDA 2013 Post-Market Surveillance on Uteronics, 90% of key medicines used to treat postpartum hemorrhage in Ghana failed tests for quality.
And in May, USP launched the Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT) in Accra, Ghana, to increase the number of experts and available tools to combat falsified, substandard and counterfeit medicines in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.