In this conversation, originally posted live on Facebook, Veronika Wirtz, a Boston University School of Public Health (SPH) associate professor of global health, and Muhammad Zaman, a BU College of Engineering (ENG) professor of biomedical engineering, discuss the growing global problem of poor-quality medicines. “There is an issue of access in low-to-middle-income countries, and there is an issue of quality. These two are intertwined,” says Zaman. Poor access to high-quality medicine or wide access to substandard drugs are both “meaningless.”
The problem, Wirtz and Zaman note, goes beyond criminals cooking up fake Lipitor in a garage. Rather, it encompasses such wide-ranging topics as standards for generic medications, breaches of intellectual property law, and international patent disputes.