Falsified and Substandard Drugs: Stopping the Pandemic

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 May;100(5):1058-1065. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0981.


Falsified and substandard medicines are associated with tens of thousands of deaths, mainly in young children in poor countries. Poor-quality drugs exact an annual economic toll of up to US$200 billion and contribute to the increasing peril of antimicrobial resistance. The WHO has emerged recently as the global leader in the battle against poor-quality drugs, and pharmaceutical companies have increased their roles in assuring the integrity of drug supply chains. Despite advances in drug quality surveillance and detection technology, more efforts are urgently required in research, policy, and field monitoring to halt the pandemic of bad drugs. In addition to strengthening international and national pharmaceutical governance, in part by national implementation of the Model Law on Medicines and Crime, a quantifiable Sustainable Development Goal target and an international convention to insure drug quality and safety are urgent priorities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counterfeit Drugs / economics
  • Drug Resistance
  • Global Health*
  • Health Policy / economics*
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Legislation, Drug*
  • Substandard Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Substandard Drugs / economics
  • World Health Organization


  • Counterfeit Drugs
  • Substandard Drugs