Why should “returned” medicines not be used for overseas aid?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has strongly recommended that the recycling of returned medicines be ceased, for the following reasons:

  1. The “integrity” of previously distributed medicines cannot be assured. Strict controls are in place to regulate the manufacture and storage of medicines in the manufacturer, wholesaler and pharmacy environments. Frequent reports of adulterated medicines have reached the media. We should not apply double standards – if we are not to use the medicines, neither should another country.
  2. The recipient country often has no knowledge of medicines available in the “sending” country.  Brand names differ, and most often the medicines sent are of no use in the circumstances existing in the receiving country.
  3. Black Market operations in third world countries are often very active. The interception of drug deliveries is common.