The art exhibition “What’s in your medicines?” is currently touring South East Asia, with the aim to raise awareness of concerns around poor quality medicines. Substandard (due to errors in factories) and falsified (‘fake, due to fraud) medicines and vaccines contain an incorrect or too low amount of ingredients, and so can cause serious problems. Poor quality medicines can prolong illness, cause unexpected and serious side effects, and put additional pressure on health care systems. The World Health Organisation estimates that 10% of medicines in low- and mid-income countries, such as in South East Asia and Africa, are substandard or falsified, but the full extent of the problem remains unknown.
The art exhibition, originally called ‘PHARMACIDE ARTS – Fake medicine : the disease of greed’, displays the original artwork of 12 South East Asian artists. It was created by the United States Pharmacopeia (funded by USAID), the French Government and other partners in 2011, and returns to South East Asia in 2019/20. The current tour is organised by the Medicine Quality Research Group from the Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU) at Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Laos, and the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is funded by a Wellcome Trust Provision for Public Engagement and supported by the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok, Thailand.
The exhibition will be on display at the University of Health Sciences in Vientiane, Laos PDR, from 17th-25th December 2019. Visitors will be able to explore the stunning prints, find out more about the work by the Medicine Quality Research Group, and leave their thoughts on how they think the problem should be addressed. It will then travel to Bangkok at the end of January 2020 (details to be confirmed).
About Medicine Quality
The Medicine Quality Research Group, led by Prof Paul Newton and Dr Céline Caillet, studies the distribution, detection methods and impact of substandard and falsified medicines in South East Asia and around the world. For more information view podcasts with Paul Newton on Poor quality medicines and Céline Caillet discussing Improving medicine quality.
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