Fourth of Six

Listen Up! There will be a test!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Safe drugs in the Third World

One of the great things about our country is that we have a stable and safe supply of reliable medications, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. What do you do for people in countries without the infrastructure to regulate medicines? Who will protect them from counterfeit or low quality drugs?

Entrepeneurs Thompson and Sigworth have noticed this situation, and are developing a means for people in developing countries to authenticate the unregulated medicines they buy. I think this is great. I hope they succeed.

Sidebar: I babysat Taylor Thompson when he was a little boy. Link goes to a photo of him all grown up.

Labels: , ,


At 1:06 PM, Blogger Bobmo said...

Wow. What a terrific idea! There is real potential for good to be done in developing countries. But wait, can this be done without the government doing it? ;-)

At 3:33 PM, Blogger Dedwarmo said...

I wonder if there is a counterfeit problem in the U.S? If not, why not?

At 11:17 PM, Blogger Becky said...

Presumably because of the FDA.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Dedwarmo said...

How would the FDA keep a vitamin company from putting a Vicodin label on a bottle of vitamin C? Maybe they do surprise inspections at the factory and at drug stores.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Haribo said...

Literally millions of units of drugs are constantly moving in and out of (and around) the USA, often going through the tier of thousands of wholesalers. The FDA does not (and cannot) regulate this - and neither can any regulator in any country.

The USA (and Europe, where levels of counterfeits are also very low) enjoy the following elements of liberal institutions, which help maintain the standard of all products (including drugs):

- Trademark protection
- Civil liability and the rule of law

These ensure that producers can brand their products and compete for customers on the basis of a product's quality (as well as price).

More crucially, this means that the producer can take immediate action against anyone faking their brand, and have a direct incentive to protect their product's identity so that customers are confident they are getting the real thing.

This and the rule of law (ie. fair courts, free from political influence) also allow victims of substandard products to obtain redress - a further deterrent to counterfeiters.

Finally, an open market of legitimate competing companies offers affordable high-quality medicines from reputable sellers - sadly this is lacking in many poorer countries, in which government stifles entry to markets and poor local manufacturers are often subsidised. People are often forced to buy drugs in local street markets, which are of course likely to be counterfeited.

I probably haven't articulated this very well - this piece perhaps does a better job: 'Made in China' proving bad for health

At 3:25 PM, Blogger Becky said...

Excellent comment, Julian!

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Haribo said...

Ah, Becky, you flatter me. Nice blog, though.


Post a Comment

<< Home