Saturday, September 5, 2009

Business Standard: WHO to Revive Talks on Fake Drugs

Joe C. Mathew of the India Business Standard in their Saturday, September 5, 2009 edition reports on the upcoming meeting annual meeting of the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization Meeting will be tackling the fake drugs and their definition:

  • The matter had to be taken out of WHO’s annual meet — the World Health Assembly (WHA) — agenda early this year due to protests from countries like India, which felt the proposed definition would harm seamless movement of genuine medicines between developing and least developed nations.

  • The meeting of the WHO’s South-East Asia region, beginning in Nepal on September 7, is to revive the talks on counterfeit definition. The meeting is expected to hear various lobby groups on the possible changes that can be made to the current definition.

  • The main point of contention is known to be the way ‘substandard medicine’ will be described.

  • “A medicine which does not meet the quality standards is easy to be classified as a substandard medicine. But how do you classify a medicine that meets the quality standards but has been given marketing approval based on information that was deliberately false? This is the issue that needs to be tackled,” said an official.

  • Representatives of the domestic drug industry said they were not aware of the development. The issue of counterfeit medicines was on the agenda of the 62nd WHA in May 2009, but was deferred till the next year’s meet due to lack of consensus.

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