Pharmaceuticals: Quality Assurance in the Distribution Chain. World Bank, HNP Brief #6
(2005; 5 pages)


Pharmaceuticals are an essential element of health care.

In developing countries, up to 66% of public and private health expenses are used to buy medicines. Unfortunately, data show that a lot of this money is wasted on fake and substandard drugs. WHO estimates that about 25% of the drugs sold in developing countries are fake. In some countries rates up to 40% and higher have been reported including life saving medicines against diseases such as malaria and bacterial infections. As a consequence, thousands of people die every year because the drugs they take do not have the anticipated therapeutic effect. This human tragedy together with the significant economic impact makes it obvious that drug quality assurance throughout the entire supply chain must be a priority for every national drug regulatory authority.

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