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Drugs exported from India to Africa are poorer quality than those sent elsewhere

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g6017 (Published 02 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6017
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

Generic drugs exported from India to Africa are of lower quality than those exported to middle income countries, an investigation that compared the strengths of four common medications bought at pharmacies around the world has found.

The study, published as a working paper by the US National Bureau of Economic Research,1 measured the quantity of active ingredients found in two mainstream antibiotics, ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, and in two tuberculosis drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin. The drugs were purchased over the counter in five Indian cities, 12 African countries, and five middle income countries (Brazil, China, Russia, Thailand, and Turkey).

Of 1470 samples, the …

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