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
In the past decade major problems with Chinese-made food and drugs has led to thousands of deaths, mostly in China itself, but many in rich countries too, including at least 150 deaths in the U.S. from counterfeits of the drug heparin. And while fake drugs are the largest concern for foreigners, within China the greatest fear is over milk formula.
The Indian Supreme Court’s decision on Gleevec will surely help some patients seeking affordable treatment (“US should tighten rules for patenting changes to drugs,” Editorial, April 8), but there is no guarantee that local companies can reproduce a drug that is as safe or effective as the original, especially when they have no data-sharing agreement with the company that designed it.
Poorly manufactured and fraudulent medicines kill thousands of people around the world each year. For infectious diseases like malaria and HIV, shoddy medicines also accelerate drug resistance and dramatically alter the course of epidemics. With few new drugs under development, recent progress against these major killers in the poorest countries is precarious.
India's Supreme Court rejected a patent for Glivec, Novartis's blockbuster leukemia drug, putting an end to a seven-year legal battle. This decision threatens the health of patients in both India and the US.
Smugglers are adept at taking advantage of the myriad tariffs and tax rates between jurisdictions. With increasingly cheap globalized transport and tax free zones cropping up all over the globe, smugglers, terrorist financiers and organized crime have found boundless illicit opportunities.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, pharmaceutical companies in developing countries such as India are increasingly falsifying data about the quality of their medicines. One solution to this quality control dilemma is to enact sanctions against companies that fail to provide quality products.