At first, doctors in Lahore, Pakistan thought that the patients hospitalized with bleeding, nausea, and low white blood cell counts were suffering from Dengue virus. However, the high fever seen with Dengue was not present. Soon, patients began to die. Over 200 would lose their lives and more than 1,000 people would be hospitalized before the origin of the "epidemic" was identified. It was not a disease, but a simple manufacturing error in a cardiac medication that all the patients had received from a government clinic. The Pakistani Government just released the full report of what caused this deadly incident, demonstrating a combination of negligence in manufacture and deficiencies in regulatory and analytical capacity. It's a rare look inside the system that leads to so many low quality drugs in circulation in the developing world.
Our goal through the PAD project is to increase the capacity of pharmacists, regulators, small business people, medical caregivers, and ordinary citizens to monitor drug quality. Click on through to the Technology page to see how we do it, and Partners to see the organizations we work with. If you're interested in working to improve the quality of medicines in low resource settings, the Get Involved page lists some ways for students, academics, and other citizen-scientists to help solve this problem.