Since demand for drugs, vaccines and diagnostic kits has increased very rapidly in recent years, substandard and counterfeit versions of these products have been widely exported to the market. The growing drug market has created new opportunities for traders, businesses and criminals who disregard people’s health.
As with any other trade, substandard and counterfeit medicine trade depends on profit margins. Trading in counterfeit and substandard medicines is the most profitable in places where the demand is high and where supply is very low. Even low-cost products appeal to substandard and counterfeit medicine dealers, if the potential sales volume is high enough. In order to distribute the substandard medicines to the market, places where the technical capacity is weak and the risk of detection is low are selected.
In short, substandard and counterfeit medicinal products are found mostly in the following sections:
Under standard medicines, use of tools that do not meet quality standards in manufacturing and supply chain, and disease is limited if the technical capacity is limited. Technical constraints also affect counterfeit products, but corruption and other shortcomings of regulation and management, including unethical practices of wholesalers, distributors, retailers and healthcare workers, further increase the circulation of these drugs. However, when we look at the events reported to the World Health Organization up to now, it appears that substandard medications are spreading where technical problems intersect with limited access.
Fake and substandard drugs will find the easiest access when a vacuum occurs in the market. This vacuum often occurs when people need drugs that they can not afford to buy. Although the problems created by restricted access seem to originate from individuals, the real problem is starting from the supply chain. Sometimes drug shortages occur nationwide; for example, a necessary product can be too expensive for the national health system or an unexpected disease can occur, which leads to the creation of a demand above the global producers’ capacity of known suppliers. In such cases, the society that is in need is turning to a drug substance from unlicensed sellers whose source is unknown by resorting to a method they would not normally do.
The price of a medicine is an important issue many patients and their families, especially if it can not be paid by with health insurance or a national health system and they have to pay off from their own pockets. If a quality drug from a known supplier is too expensive, people can try a cheaper drug, buy it from an unlicensed supplier or over the Internet.
The reasons we give in this article are the general causes determined by the World Health Organization in the light of the events that have taken place. It may vary according to the socioeconomic status of the country and the health system. But whatever the situation of the country is, there is only one conclusion: World Health is deeply affected by the counterfeit and substandard drugs.