Falsified and substandard medical products (including vaccines, medical devices and veterinary products) – products that are ‘fake’ or of poor quality – are an increasing global scourge that threaten life, health and security in significant ways. Patients receiving these products not only get ineffective treatment but are also often exposed to serious harm. The toll from these products may be as high as a million lives lost per year. In addition, their use increases the risk of drug resistant infections, and expenditure on ineffective or harmful products depletes much-needed healthcare resources. This serious and growing problem has been exacerbated by the increasing complexity of global supply chains, as well as by the inappropriate sale of medical products on the internet or in open markets. Nonetheless, efforts to tackle this issue have been woefully inadequate, reflecting in part the magnitude of the problem but also a lack of sustained political will and commitment to act. The Inter Academy Partnership (IAP) deplores this situation and urges political decision-makers at all levels, in concert with regional and international organizations, to work with medical product regulatory authorities, national and international law enforcement agencies, manufacturers, importers, distributors, health professionals and patients to solve this urgent issue.
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