Fake, substandard vaccines and medicines spell trouble for controlling Covid-19

October 26, 2021

A notable rallying cry that emerged early during the Covid-19 pandemic was “flatten the curve.” It reflected the reality that hospitals lacked the resources, knowledge, and therapies to accommodate everyone in need.

Nearly 18 months later, the situation around the globe is different. Clinicians have a better understanding of how to prevent Covid-19, and how treat people with severe cases of it. Vaccines have brought much-needed relief.

But the picture is now being complicated by the emergence of substandard and falsified Covid-19 vaccines and medical products, which are becoming increasingly pervasive.

Counterfeit vaccines and medicines, which include substandard and falsified products, can undermine the efforts to control the pandemic. These products can’t prevent or treat Covid-19, thus contributing to its spread. People developing Covid-19 after getting counterfeit vaccines would erode trust in vaccination and contribute to vaccine hesitancy. Substandard and falsified drugs and vaccines could lead to a proliferation of variants of concern and ultimately lead to resistance down the road.

Counterfeit medicines aren’t new to Covid-19. The World Health Organization, which has tracked them for several years, once called them “substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products.” The WHO estimates that 1 in 10 medical products in low- and middle-income countries is falsified or substandard, causing huge personal and public health tolls are huge. The economic burden is as much as $200 billion a year.

Now that “flatten the curve” is no longer the focus in many parts of the U.S. and in other countries, we believe it should be replaced by “steepen the gradient.” The gradient being the slope of the curve indicating the total number of people who are vaccinated. The steeper the slope, the faster people are being vaccinated.

Counterfeit vaccines and medicines, which include substandard and falsified products, can undermine the efforts to control the pandemic. These products can’t prevent or treat Covid-19, thus contributing to its spread. People developing Covid-19 after getting counterfeit vaccines would erode trust in vaccination and contribute to vaccine hesitancy. Substandard and falsified drugs and vaccines could lead to a proliferation of variants of concern and ultimately lead to resistance down the road.

SOURCE:https://www.statnews.com/2021/10/25/counterfeit-vaccines-medicines-spell-trouble-controlling