Africa tops China for drug variability

Drugs made in Africa exhibit the greatest variability in composition among countries sampled in a recent study. Medicines made in China and Vietnam show the next greatest variability, followed by drugs produced by small companies in India.

Big Indian drugmakers' products, by contrast, show little variability, according to Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute. In fact, he finds their generics interchangeable in many cases.

"It's a warning sign to Western industry and a good sign for globalization," he says, in Health Care News.

Bate used a spectrometer to assess nearly 2,000 drug samples from Asia and Africa. He found failure rates of 9.3 percent in African drugs, 7.7 percent in Chinese drugs and 4.4 of Indian drugs.

Significant variability often signifies production failures and drug quality problems, he says. It can sometimes be traced to poor regulatory regimes. In other cases, criminals are involved manufacturing and distribution.

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