Good intentions

Richard Tren | 15 Nov 2007
SIR - You fail to properly discuss malaria drug quality ("Money v mosquito", November 3rd). Substandard drugs (as opposed to outright fakes) contain some active ingredient, making them likelier to pass basic pharmacological tests. But while fakes might kill individuals, substandard drugs can drive parasite resistance and could doom a whole class of drugs, as well as not cure the patient. A subsidy is welcome, but will increase incentives for manufacturers of substandard and fake drugs alike. Strengthening regulatory controls in developing countries is vital. Before launching a full-scale subsidy, pilot programmes to test the market, such as that being run in Tanzania by the Clinton Foundation, should be closely analysed first.