Comprar veneno en la farmacia

BOSTON – No hace falta trabajar toda una vida en cuestiones de salud pública internacional para comprender el enorme riesgo que suponen los fármacos falsificados o de mala calidad. Las cadenas de suministro farmacéutico de todo el mundo, de Azerbaiyán a Zambia, están infiltradas de productos falsos que arruinan hasta los mejores programas de control, manejo y erradicación de enfermedades mortales. Y aunque es una actividad criminal, poco se hace por impedirla.

Yo crecí en Pakistán y desde pequeño siempre supe lo importante que era para mi madre, lo mismo que para cualquier progenitor educado, identificar los medicamentos y las farmacias dignos de confianza. En esto hubo pocos cambios desde entonces. De Lahore a Lusaka, los farmacéuticos locales siguen vendiendo una variedad de marcas del mismo fármaco a diferentes precios, y los compradores confían en su opinión a la hora de evaluar sus beneficios y desventajas.

Por desgracia, no es que en la farmacia de la esquina se venda algún que otro medicamento de calidad inferior: el problema es mucho más grave que eso. Cada año en todo el mundo se comercializan alrededor de 75.000 millones de dólares en medicamentos de mala calidad; se calcula que esto causa unas 100.000 muertes y provoca serias enfermedades a una cantidad de gente mucho mayor. El comercio de fármacos deficientes menoscaba seriamente los frágiles sistemas de salud pública de los países pobres; no sólo matan a sus consumidores directos, sino que sus efectos pueden pasar de padres a hijos e incluso alentar el surgimiento de nuevas cepas de agentes patógenos resistentes a los medicamentos, que son una amenaza para todos.

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