Poor Quality Drugs and Global Trade: A Pilot Study

26 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2014

See all articles by Roger Bate

Roger Bate

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Aparna Mathur

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Amir Attaran

University of Ottawa - Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine; University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: September 2014

Abstract

Experts claim that some Indian drug manufacturers cut corners and make substandard drugs for markets with non-existent, under-developed or emerging regulatory oversight, notably Africa. This paper assesses the quality of 1470 antibiotic and tuberculosis drug samples that claim to be made in India and were sold in Africa, India, and five mid-income non-African countries. We find that 10.9% of those products fail a basic assessment of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), and the majority of the failures are substandard (7%) as they contain some correct API but the amount of API is under-dosed. The distribution of these substandard products is not random: they are more likely to be found as unregistered products in Africa than in India or non-African countries. Since this finding is robust for manufacturer-drug fixed effects, one likely explanation is that Indian pharmaceutical firms and/or their export intermediaries do indeed differentiate drug quality according to the destination of consumption.

Suggested Citation

Bate, Roger and Jin, Ginger Zhe and Mathur, Aparna and Attaran, Amir, Poor Quality Drugs and Global Trade: A Pilot Study (September 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20469. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2492979

Roger Bate (Contact Author)

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3484 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Aparna Mathur

American Enterprise Institute (AEI) ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-868-6026 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.aei.org/scholar/aparna-mathur/

Amir Attaran

University of Ottawa - Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine ( email )

451 Smyth Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5
Canada

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada
613-562-5800 ext: 2015 (Phone)
613-562-5659 (Fax)

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