Low-quality medicines prevalent in the developing world

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A NEW study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that substandard and falsified med­icines, including medicines to treat malaria, are a serious problem in much of the world.

In low- and middle-income coun­tries, more than 13 percent of the essential medicines that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population fall in this category.

When looking specifically at African countries, the por­tion of substandard and falsified medicines rises to almost 19 percent.

Falsified medicines are medi­cal products that deliberately and fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition or source.

Substandard medicines are real medical products that fail to meet quality standards or specifications for a variety of reasons, including poor manufacturing, shipping or storage conditions, or because the drug is sold beyond its expiration date.