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UNODC Holds Meeting On Poor Quality Medicines

Writing in the BMJ Group Blogs, Amir Attaran, professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa, describes a recent meeting held by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in which “[d]elegates of U.N. member states, police, manufacturers, academics, and pressure groups gathered … at UNODC headquarters…

IOM Report Offers Recommendations To Combat Distribution Of Fake, Substandard Medicines

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies “is urging stronger regulation of pharmaceuticals around the world to combat the growing problem of fake and poor-quality medicines,” NPR’s “Shots” blog reports (Knox, 2/13). “The risks of fake and flawed medicines have leapt from developing nations to Western supply chains, thanks…

Washington Post Examines Relationship Between Counterfeit Drugs, Rise Of Drug-Resistant TB

The Washington Post examines the emergence of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis (TB) around the world, writing, “One culprit in the rise of untreatable TB is counterfeit drugs, which can undermine treatment efforts by packing insufficient active ingredients to fully kill off bacteria, breeding new, stronger super-strains of the disease.” According to the…

CDC, State Department, World Bank Should Lead Fight Against Fake, Substandard TB Drugs

“Thanks to billions of dollars spent on diagnosis and treatment [of tuberculosis (TB)] over the past decade, deaths and infections are slowly declining,” but “fake and poorly made antibiotics are being widely used to treat tuberculosis,” according to a study “to be published [Tuesday] in the International Journal of Tuberculosis…

Zimbabwe Continues To Face Medicine Shortages, Stock-Outs, PlusNews Reports

“Chronic shortages of generic and antiretroviral drugs, stock-outs, high medication costs, and long distances to clinics are some of the hurdles people face in their quest to access essential medicines in Zimbabwe,” PlusNews reports. Since 2009, the national government has not funded “the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm), which is mandated…

Wall Street Journal Looks At European Efforts To Fight TB

The Wall Street Journal examines efforts to fight tuberculosis (TB) in Europe, writing, “All along the edges of Western Europe, new and hard-to-defeat strains of tuberculosis are gaining a foothold, often moving beyond traditional victims — alcoholics, drug users, HIV patients — and into the wider population.” The article focuses on the efforts of Estonia to turn the tide against multidrug-resistant TB, saying the country’s success “offers one of the few bright spots globally as the ancient plague mutates into new and more deadly forms.” The newspaper continues, “Indeed, experts say the country, with half the population of Chicago, could be a model for others. But there is one catch: It takes years and some pricey treatments just to gain the upper hand” (Naik, 12/31).

Seattle Times Examines Partnership Between Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Uganda Cancer Institute

The Seattle Times examines a partnership between the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI). In 2008, “the two institutes formally agreed to collaborate on clinical care and research projects, and more recently a major building project at Uganda’s only cancer-research center,” the newspaper writes. Corey Casper, director of the UCI/Fred Hutchinson Research Center Cancer Alliance, “says [the partnership] has the potential to demonstrate ‘that you can do first-rate research that can alter the impact of cancer care in the developing world, and that the craft of oncology can be practiced as well in Africa as it is in the developed world, just like it is with HIV,'” according to the Seattle Times (Silberner, 12/16).

Global Fund, Nigeria Sign Grants For HIV, TB Initiatives

“On Thursday (Dec. 14), [Nigeria] signed five grant agreements with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” with some of the money going “to provide for antiretroviral therapy treatment and prevention services, particularly on mother-to-child HIV transmission,” Devex’s “The Development Newswire” blog reports. Of the total $335 million, $265 million will go toward HIV/AIDS activities, while $70 million will be used for TB initiatives, the blog notes (Ravelo, 12/14). “For Nigeria, [the] grant agreements address a tremendous need: Nigeria has the second highest number of people living with HIV in the world and only 30 percent of people requiring HIV treatment are receiving antiretroviral therapy,” a Global Fund press release states (12/13).

Conference Addresses Issues Of Innovation For Neglected Diseases

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine this week are hosting a conference in New York, titled “Lives in the Balance: Delivering Medical Innovations for Neglected Patients and Populations,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. In a video presentation, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim “told the conference … that the goal is to ‘lay the foundation of a health science that works for the poor,'” according to the newspaper. “That means innovative research on diseases and delivery systems geared to people in developing nations, not the more affluent ones, greater sharing of ideas, and support for developing nations so they can assist in the process from beginning to end,” the newspaper writes (Sell, 12/14).

Efforts To Prevent, Treat Cervical Cancer Increasing In Africa

The Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” examines efforts to prevent and treat cervical cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, where “cervical cancer kills large numbers of women, many of whom are never diagnosed because local hospitals do not recognize the disease until it is too late.” However, “[a] very simple and cheap form of screening has begun to be introduced — and now there is the possibility of a vaccination program against the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes most cervical cancers,” the blog writes, noting a recent announcement by the GAVI Alliance that it plans to fund HPV immunization programs in several countries. According to the blog, “15 countries [are] asking to be considered,” and “Uganda and Rwanda have already been approved, although some ‘clarifications’ are required from the governments on how their programs will run.” The blog continues, “No one believes it will be easy to introduce the HPV vaccination in Africa, and there may be problems,” including issues with efficacy and cost (Boseley, 12/14).