Bitter Pills: The Curious Case of Substandard and Counterfeit Medicines in South Asia


Monday, April 3, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


CGIS South, S050 Harvard University, 1730 Cambridge Street Cambridge MA


SPEAKER(S): Muhammad Zaman, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University; Visiting Faculty, SAI
Chair: Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School; Director, Harvard South Asia Institute
CONTACT INFO: South Asia Institute,
The discussion about universal health care is meaningless without assurance of quality in health services and health commodities. Despite the major efforts by governments in low and middle income countries to increase access, create insurance schemes for all the citizens and emphasize primary care, quality of pharmaceuticals remains a persistent problem. Estimates suggest that anywhere from 15-30 percent of all drugs in the world, and upwards of 50% in a number of countries, do not meet the basic quality standards. The markets in Pakistan are flooded with not just counterfeit, but substandard and falsified drugs, and despite investments in digital technologies, the problem remains stubborn. Bad drugs have resulted in several major public health crises in the last five years in the country and subsequent legislation that has failed to address the issue in any appreciable way. This talk will focus at the global challenge, the unique perspective from Pakistan in particular and South Asia in general, and discuss the social, economic and technological developments that have the potential to improve access to quality pharmaceuticals.
Light refreshments will be served.


See also: Lecture