Back in 2006, WHO created a taskforce for addressing the exploding problem of fake drugs. Now it seems that the resulting IMPACT body is drifting rudderless, with its future uncertain.
It was widely expected that the WHO would have a resolution formalising IMPACT at this month's World Health Assembly. But the publically available documents reveal there will be no such resolution. Instead, Member States will be invited to note a "report" on the WHO's activities to date, including IMPACT.
Seeing as the problem of fake medicines is getting so bad in many developing countries, why isn't the WHO taking the issue more seriously?
Rumours are that India and Brazil have tried to torpedo IMPACT, (wrongly) concerned that efforts to tackle fake drugs may undermine their local generics industries. In the case of India, many of their smaller companies legitimately churn out copies of such poor quality that they might as well be fake.
We will be watching what happens with IMPACT during the WHA in a couple of weeks. Maybe a country particularly afflicted by the problem (maybe Nigeria) will put forward a resolution.
While the problem of fake drugs will not be solved by international action alone, we should not let the industrial interests of Brazil and India derail international progress against fake drugs.