The Global Pandemic of Falsified Medicines: Laboratory and Field Innovations and Policy Implications
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Monitoring the quality of medicines plays a crucial role in an integrated medicines quality assurance system. In a publicly available medicines quality database (MQDB), the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) reports results of data collected from medicines quality monitoring (MQM) activities spanning the period of 2003–2013 in 17 countries of Africa, Asia, and South America. The MQDB contains information on 15,063 samples collected and tested using Minilab screening methods and/or pharmacopeial methods. Approximately 71% of the samples reported came from Asia, 23% from Africa, and 6% from South America. The samples collected and tested include mainly antibiotic, antimalarial, and antituberculosis medicines. A total of 848 samples, representing 5.6% of total samples, failed the quality test. The failure proportion per region was 11.5%, 10.4%, and 2.9% for South America, Africa, and Asia, respectively. Eighty-one counterfeit medicines were reported, 86.4% of which were found in Asia and 13.6% in Africa. Additional analysis of the data shows the distribution of poor-quality medicines per region and by therapeutic indication as well as possible trends of counterfeit medicines.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 26 Aug 2014
  • Accepted : 13 Apr 2015
  • Published online : 03 Jun 2015

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