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counterfeit medicines represent a threat to public health worldwide but pose a
particular problem in developing countries, where lack of financial, technical
and other resources make it difficult to protect the drug supply chains,"
said United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, Acting
Assistant Administrator for Global Health, Gloria Steele.
That is why USAID is launching a new program to combat this menace over the
next five years. The USAID program will be conducted jointly with the U.S.
Pharmacopeial Convention, or USP, a non-profit, non-governmental scientific
organization that sets globally recognized standards for medicines and health
care products. The Promoting the Quality of Medicines, or PQM, Program, a $35 million
cooperative agreement, will help improve the quality, safety and efficacy of
medicines in countries around the world. These medicines are critical for the
treatment of serious disease such as AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and
essential to USAID's priority health programs.
"Such medicines undermine decades of investments in public health,"
said USAID Acting Assistant Administrator Steele. "Without good quality,
safe medicines to treat such diseases as malaria and tuberculosis, the impact
of other health initiatives is severely weakened if not negated completely. The
PQM Program focuses on this critical aspect of combating these diseases."
"The lives of patients are put in serious jeopardy when they take
substandard or counterfeit drugs," said Dr. Roger L. William, chief
executive officer of USP. He noted that these dangerous substances
"contribute to the development of drug-resistant strains of infectious
diseases. Such strains are a leading challenge in the fight against malaria,
HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis."
Building on a ten-year USAID-USP partnership in this arena that assists health
officials and others in 28 countries around the world, the program will
increase efforts to address the significant public health challenge posed by
substandard or counterfeit medicines.
Specifically, the program will help countries strengthen their medicines
regulatory bodies; increase the supply of good-quality medicines; reduce the
availability of counterfeit and substandard medicines; and conduct global
advocacy to raise awareness of the dangers of substandard and counterfeit
The PQM Program builds on the work of USAID and USP over the past decade
through a predecessor program, the Drug Quality and Information [DQI] Program.
The new program will expand on these and other activities in Asia, Eastern
Europe, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. The United States is committed
to working with its international partners to combat the growing global threat
posed by counterfeit and substandard medicines.