The Atlantic Examines China’s Role In Counterfeit Medicines, Medical Aid In Africa

Noting “[a] small but growing body of evidence partly faults China for the massive upswing in counterfeit medications in Africa,” The Atlantic examines whether “the Chinese pharmaceutical industry [can] overcome its reputation for producing bogus medicine.” The magazine describes China’s role in the discovery of artemisinin and the resulting artemisinin combination therapies, or ACTs, used to treat malaria, as well as the country’s role in manufacturing and distributing counterfeit anti-malaria drugs. “Until now, the deadly risk of fake medications flooding Africa has been under-studied and under-reported,” The Atlantic writes, adding, “The Wellcome Trust and others estimate that one-third of malaria drugs in Uganda, including ACTs and all others, may be fake or substandard.” The magazine also examines China’s role in health care in East Africa, writing, “A primary trouble with China’s medical aid on the continent is that it has not been subject to independent oversight.” The Atlantic continues, “The deadliest problem remains counterfeiting and fakes, risking lives and threatening to kill China’s potential for real medical aid in Africa” (McLaughlin, 6/11).