Substandard and falsified medicines in African pharmaceutical markets

By | 24th April 2024

Substandard and falsified (SF) medicines are a global health problem. Their high prevalence is a threat to public health in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, there are few street-level investigations of how this market works. This case study examines the supply and demand for SF medicines in Southern Ethiopia.

Efforts to address the problem of SF medicines in Ethiopia struggle because of the lack of a clear framing of the issue and consensus on how it should be understood. The pharmaceutical market in Wolaita Zone, Southern Ethiopia is supplied with a wide variety of SF medicines from diverse sources. This complex supply chain emerges due to barriers to accessing essential medicines that are in demand. Control of SF medicines will require a range of interventions thoughtfully tailored to the local contexts and determinants of
both supply and demand.

The evidence of confusion, ambiguity, and uncertainty in defining the problem of SF medicines suggest that more research and policy work is required to refine understanding of the issue, and of the local market conditions that join demand and supply for different medicines in Southern Ethiopia. These are likely to apply more widely in comparable contexts throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The current global policy emphasis on stricter regulation and enforcement alone does not adequately address the social and economic factors that collectively create and shape user demand that is met by SF medicines.

Substandard and falsified medicines in African pharmaceutical markets: a case study from Ethiopia

Akalework Mengesha, Hilde Bastiaens, Raffaella Ravinetto, Linda Gibson, Robert Dingwall

Social Science and Medicine


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.