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
Drug quality is poorer among Indian-labelled drugs purchased inside African countries than among those purchased inside India or middle-income countries. Substandard drugs, which contain insufficient amounts of the active ingredient, are the biggest driver of this quality difference.
The Indian government must curb the flow of low-quality medications from Indian drug manufacturers to foreign markets. These substandard medicines provide ineffective treatment, at best, and endanger global health, at worst.
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.