The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a red alert saying that an estimated one in every 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria, is either substandard or falsified.
WHO, in conjunction with the first report from the Global Surveillance and Monitoring System published last week, yesterday, published a research that estimates a 10.5 per cent failure rate in all medical products used in low- and middle-income countries like Nigeria.
It said that it had since 2013 received 1,500 reports of cases of substandard or falsified products and of these, anti-malarials and antibiotics are the most commonly reported.
According to the WHO report, also published in Nature journal, based on 10 per cent estimates of substandard and falsified medicines, a modelling exercise developed by the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK), noted that 72,000 to 169,000 children may be dying each year from pneumonia due to substandard and falsified antibiotics.
A second model done by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, estimates that 116,000 (64,000 – 158,000) additional deaths from malaria could be caused every year by substandard and falsified anti-malarials in sub-Saharan Africa, with a cost of $38.5 million/N15.4 billion.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Substandard and falsified medicines particularly affect the most vulnerable communities. Imagine a mother who gives up food or other basic needs to pay for her child’s treatment, unaware that the medicines are substandard or falsified, and then that treatment causes her child to die. This is unacceptable. Countries have agreed on measures at the global level – it is time to translate them into tangible action.”