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The World in Medicine
July 11, 2001

Fake and Poor-Quality Drugs

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JAMA. 2001;286(2):159. doi:10.1001/jama.286.2.159

Counterfeit medications and drugs containing the wrong dose or lacking the active ingredient threaten the health of people in some developing countries, according to two reports in the June 16 issue of Lancet.

Nearly half of 581 samples of 27 different drugs from 38 pharmacies in Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria contained the wrong dose of drug—too little, too much, or none of the active ingredient—according to a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Thailand, and Nigeria. In the second study, researchers from Mahidol University in Bangkok and other institutions found that 38% of 104 samples of an antimalarial medication bought from shops in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam contained no artesunate, the key ingredient.

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