Substandard Medical Products

Key facts

  • SSFFC medical products may cause harm to patients and fail to treat the diseases for which they were intended.
  • They lead to loss of confidence in medicines, healthcare providers and health systems.
  • They affect every region of the world.
  • SSFFC medical products from all main therapeutic categories have been reported to WHO including medicines, vaccines and in vitro diagnostics.
  • Anti-malarials and antibiotics are amongst the most commonly reported SSFFC medical products.
  • Both Generic and Innovator medicines are falsified including very expensive products for cancer to very inexpensive products for treatment of pain.
  • They can be found in illegal street markets, via unregulated websites through to pharmacies, clinics and hospitals.

Scope of the problem
Substandard, spurious, falsely labelled, falsified and counterfeit (SSFFC) medical products are by their very nature difficult to detect. They are often designed to appear identical to the genuine product and may not cause an obvious adverse reaction, however they often will fail to properly treat the disease or condition for which they were intended.

There are many estimates of the scope and scale of the market in SSFFC medical products but little validated evidence to underpin those estimates. In 2013 WHO launched a global surveillance and monitoring system to encourage Member States to report SSFFC incidents in a structured and systematic format, to help develop a more accurate and validated assessment of the scope, scale and harm caused by this issue. Over 920 medical products have so far been reported representing all main therapeutic categories and representing both innovator and generic medicines.


Current Scenario of Spurious and Substandard Medicines in India: A Systematic Review
Globally, every country is the victim of substandard or spurious drugs, which result in life threatening issues, financial loss of consumer and manufacturer and loss in trust on health system. The aim of this enumerative review was to probe the extent on poor quality drugs with their consequences on public health and the preventive measures taken by the Indian pharmaceutical regulatory system. Government and non-government studies, literature and news were gathered from journals and authentic websites. All data from 2000 to 2013 were compiled and interpreted to reveal the real story of poor quality drugs in India. For minimizing spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit drugs or not of standard quality drugs, there is urgent requirement of more stringent regulation and legal action against the problem. However, India has taken some preventive steps in the country to fight against the poor quality drugs for protecting and promoting the public health.

We plan to do einterviews with MBBS doctors to understand 4 things
1) Tests or questions you ask in first few meetings
2) What it means in medical terms
3) What it means in non medical terms
4) What should the patient or care takers do

We might interview Aurvedic doctors, homeopathic doctors, Yoga teachers on this health issue

Video links
Substandard, Spurious, Falsely labelled, Falsified and Counterfeit (SSFFC) Medical Products

SSFFC medical products

Counterfeit and Substandard
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