Roger Bate is an economist who researches international health policy, with a particular focus on tropical disease and substandard and counterfeit medicines. He also writes on general development policy in Asia and Africa. He writes regularly for AEI's Health Policy Outlook.
Board Member and Director, Africa Fighting Malaria (United States and South Africa), 2000-present
Fellow, 2000-present; Founder and Director, Environmental Unit, 1993-2003, Institute of Economic Affairs
Fellow, 2003; Director, 2001-2003, International Policy Network
Founder, Frederick Bastiat International Journalism Prize, 2001
Cofounder and Director, European Science and Environment Forum, 1995-2001
Research Analyst, Warburg Securities and Charles Stanley & Co., 1986-89
Ph.D., economics; MPhil., land economy, University of Cambridge
MSc., environmental and resource management, University College, London University
People may well compare car performance figures before buying, but I doubt many patients even think of doing so when it comes to medicines and drugs. The reason is that they trust the regulators (and their doctor) to ensure that all products work properly on the market. But why should a regulator of medicines be better than any other bureaucrat in any other field?
Are American patients taking unsafe medicines from Asia? Even posing that question is leading to unusually public confrontations between scientists and physicians on one side and the Food and Drug Administration on the other.
There is a growing concern that American patients are unknowingly being given unsafe medicines from overseas. Yet with nearly 3 billion prescriptions filled every year in the United States, everyone agrees that the U.S. drug supply is generally safe.
There is a growing cause for alarm as evidence of corner-cutting mounts-particularly among Indian generics manufacturers-and the products that are actually sold on the market don't maintain the same quality standards as those that received approval. Only time will tell how lethal the consequences of this corner cutting will be.