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 in Vienna to discuss the present and future criminalization of ‘fraudulent’ medicines, which increasingly threaten the international supply chain and have led to recorded fatalities.” Attaran says, “UNODC’s meeting is noteworthy as the first time that the U.N. has convened experts, and not just member states, to discuss fighting poor quality medicines,” and he describes the statements of several “diverse speakers at the UNODC conference.” He concludes, “UNODC will present the outcome of the meeting to its member states at the meeting of its Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2013, with WHO likely to hold separate but parallel meetings of member states later in the year, if approval is forthcoming from the World Health Assembly this May” (3/6).