Millwood, VA, December 4, 2012

Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian assistance organization, in partnership with the PharmaceuticalResearch and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Eli Lilly and Company, has successfully completed a one-year pilot program in China to raise awareness about unsafe medicines, a large and growing problem in China and throughout the world.

Project HOPE’s China Safe Medicine Program was the first NGO-led effort to work with Chinese governmental and professional organizations to educate health care providers and the public about unsafe medicine, i.e. counterfeit medicines, medicines containing no active ingredients, medicines with an insufficient quantity of active ingredients or medicines containing even dangerous ingredients.

Although there is no reliable data about the prevalence of unsafe medicines, the World Health Organization says that the problem worldwide is enormous. Unsafe medicines pose a significant threat to patients by creating drug resistance, causing treatment failure and even death.

To improve public awareness about the issue in China, Project HOPE partnered with the Chinese Medical Association; the Chinese Pharmaceutical Association; Chinese hospitals and Health News, a leading health publication in China, to develop training and patient educational materials. Together, the coalition has trained health care providers and brought attention to the issue by having articles published in the public media.   

One-day training sessions for health care providers about safe medicine were held in Beijing and Dujiangyan City in 2012. More than 150 health care workers from 39 hospitals participated.  Attendees of the training sessions gained substantial knowledge about safe medicine. One hundred percent of attendees scored 60 or higher on a post-training test about safe medicine compared to only 14% of participants who scored 60 or higher in a pre-test prior to the training session.

A workshop for journalists was held in Beijing in March 2012.  The 25 journalists from 19 prominent health and news publications were informed about the problem of unsafe medicine and encouraged to write articles on the issue.  After the training, 18 articles were written by participants.  Also, Health News, the most influential health media outlet in China with a circulation of 300,000 per day, published 15 articles on the subject. 

Min Hu, Project HOPE’s Senior Program Manager in Beijing, said “Project HOPE’s China Safe Medicine Program has been an important first step in educating the Chinese public about the dangers of unsafe medicines.”

Because of the success of the pilot program on safe medicine in China, Project HOPE was recently awarded a grant by the United States Department of State to conduct a training workshop on unsafe medicines for journalists in India. The workshop will be modeled on the successful pilot program in China.

Project HOPE has been involved in efforts to improve the health of communities in China for nearly 30 years through a strong partnership with the Ministry of Health in addressing needs and advancing health professional training with the support of global corporate partners. China’s large population, diverse demography, and rapid economic development have created a growing need for health care services.  

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health crises, with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 35 countries across five continents.

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Geraldine Carroll Tel. 540.257.3746

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