Kill or cure: The truth about fake drugs

Published: 12 January 2011

Journalists shine light into places where there would otherwise be darkness.

This podcast follows Young Reporter Lucy Laycock on a physical and metaphorical journey from London to the European Development Days in Brussels as she uncovers worrying evidence about the treatment of fake drugs by developmental agencies.

Initially she interviews two speakers at the ‘Fighting Fake Drugs’ seminars, Dr Mo Ibrahim and Hilde Johnson (Deputy Director, Unicef), who make the scale of the fake drug problem in developing world countries clear. However, it is through the harrowing personal testimony of Lorenzo Natali prize winner Kipchumba Some that Lucy engages with the contemporary face of the problem.

She struggles to find people willing to talk to her about expired drugs, which were so mysteriously absent from the seminars. She soon realises that there is no inclusive and existing definition for fake drugs, with countries disagreeing on legislation and the WHO helpless in the middle. Finally Pierre Chirac, an influential pharmacist and advisor to Medecins Sans Frontieres, expresses his belief that without such a definition development is seriously restricted.

Lucy ends her journey troubled by what she has uncovered. As she arrives back into the UK, serious questions remain unanswered.