Bad medicine: The value of monitoring banned drugs

Chirantan Chatterjee

These are tough times around the world when it comes to regulating flawed medicines that are banned from the marketplace.

Last month, the Washington Post reported details from a DEA database of 76 billion opioid pills sold in the United States between 2006 and 2012, showing that some six companies distributed 75 percent of the pills during that period.

Vaccine and heart drug recalls from China have also been hard to enforce, and this has been a challenge more broadly related to recalls around romaine lettuceproblematic smartphones and cars.

While there are no easy answers, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) database and our recent research forthcoming at Social Science and Medicine indicates that there is value in tracking and monitoring banned medicines with detailed nationally representative databases. Perhaps targeted monitoring using anti-counterfeiting technologies will also help, and so will naming and shaming firms using insights from behavioral economics.

Click here to read more of this Hill article by Chirantan Chatterjee.