About the Author: Jennifer White serves as a Foreign Service Officer in the Office of International Health and Biodefense in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
Counterfeit, falsified, and substandard drugs are a dangerous threat to people around the world, including Americans. These drugs may include toxins or inert substances that do nothing at all. They may contain too much of an active ingredient or not enough. They may also be copies of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, imitating brand name drugs or generics. The people selling counterfeit medicine are depriving patients of life-saving or life-sustaining therapies. They also endanger global health by creating an environment for diseases to become resistant to drugs used to treat them. Given that 80 percent of the active ingredients in medications used in the United States originate abroad, primarily in China and India, we have a vital interest in ensuring the safety of an ever more complex global drug supply chain.
The Department of State engages in… more »