Sunday, July 5, 2020 | ePaper

No medicine should be marketed without testing

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THE people of Bangladesh have no way to know about the quality of medicine as the controlling authority has the capacity to test less than 10 per cent of the drugs sold in the country. The government-run drug testing laboratories in the country do not have the ability to test the quality, efficacy, potency and toxicity of drugs available in the market here, as per a local report.
Though the country's pharmaceutical industry is booming and some top drug makers are exporting their drugs to different countries including the United States and Europe, the World Health Organisation is yet to certify that Bangladesh's drug laboratories meet its standard. According to the Drug Administration, some 272 pharmaceutical companies of Bangladesh produce 3,645 generic allopathic drugs under 29,854 brand names. There is a need for testing not just allopathic medicine but also Homeopathic, Biochemic, Ayurvedic, Unani and Herbal medicines--all of which is largely ignored. At least 557 manufacturers produce these alternative medicines under more than 1,300 brand names.
There are different types of tests but, the Drug Administration testing labs do not have the technical capabilities to carry out all such tests. So there is no scope for the people to get a drug which is thoroughly tested by the regulators. Medicines are a potential life saving item--therefore if there is abuse in its production then it means that lives can be lost. If the national regulatory authority can't verify that the components of each drug are in the correct proportion then there is a possibility that we would have to suffer for a long time in spite of getting cure.
Lower quality medicines could be produced by the low end pharmaceutical companies without the correct components in the right volume. This could potentially lead to epidemics as the drugs would not work properly as intended. Not just that--- when a chemical is found in any medicine, the batch in question of the medicine is usually withdrawn. We don't have any testing capacity to detect harmful substances in medicines. This must be corrected to ensure a safe future for ourselves--no one should die because of drugs which can't be tested.


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