Skip to main content

Developing Countries: Drugs

Volume 462: debated on Monday 25 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to reduce the supply of fake or ineffective drugs in the developing world. (144726)

DFID supports the World Health Organisation (WHO), through its core funding, in its efforts to help developing countries strengthen their pharmaceutical legislation, good manufacturing practices, national drug regulatory capacity and performance. The WHO also promotes information exchange among drug regulatory authorities to help combat drug counterfeiters.

DFID is working with a wide range of partners, including the WHO, developing country governments, pharmaceutical companies and non-governmental organisations, on the development of the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA).

MeTA seeks to increase transparency over vital information on the price, quality and availability of essential medicines in developing countries to help tackle high prices, challenge corruption and counterfeiting, and address inefficiency. Up to a third of medicines on the market in developing countries are fakes.

MeTA seeks to change this by securing high level political commitment to increase transparency and accountability over medicine procurement and supply in participating countries. MeTA also seeks to bring the right people around the table—Government Departments, civil society organisations, companies and others—to agree ways of disclosing information on the price, the quality and the availability of essential medicines into the public arena, with the aim of ultimately reducing the cost, improving the quality and increasing the availability of medicines.

DFID has for example provided support to Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control which has taken an active lead in reducing counterfeit drugs throughout the country.