India fakes report fails sniff test

A survey of drugs bought at Indian pharmacies finds that just 0.045 percent are counterfeit. That's 11 fakes in more than 24,000 samples. And just three of 2,976 samples (0.101 percent) are deemed substandard in quality. These numbers are courtesy of the "Report on Countrywide Survey For Spurious Drugs" released by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization in July.

The data contained in the report rankle American Enterprise Institute fellow Roger Bate, who takes aim at the results in the Wall Street Journal. The results "flatly contradict reports over the past decade from scholars and industry groups claiming fake drug rates ranging from 3% to 35%." And in its own annual assessments, the government has found drug quality-control failures typically about 10 percent in the 1990s and 7 percent in most of the years of the last decade.

The intent of the report, he says, is to overcome apprehensions about India drug authenticity and safety. But its lack of credibility amounts to a shot in the foot. It's an especially poorly chosen tactic given the drug-making strides the country has made over the past decade and its recent attempts to separate itself from China as a leading source of fakes and poor quality drugs.

- here's the column