Medicine

Medicine chain gang

Good Distribution Practice in rural Indonesia. Photo: Elizabeth Pisani Getting medicines to patients across Indonesia’s 13,000 islands: what could possibly go wrong? Let’s start with an apology for a silence which some of you have been kind enough to point out has been going on muuuuuuch too long. It turns out that pandemics are busy times for people whose day job is in infectious disease epidemiology. They also keep one away from loved-ones, including Bad Boyfriends. This is the longest…


The Indonesian government forgot to buy medicines. Now what?

More long silence from Elizabeth. Sorry. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about Indonesia. It’s that I’ve been focusing on just one thing: the quality of the medicines in the Indonesian market. With wonderful colleagues like Amalia Hasnida, Yusi Anggriani and Sari Dewi, we’ve been trying to figure out why people make low quality medicines, and why people sell and take them. It’s a complicated story, especially in Indonesia, but Tempo’s cover story this week highlights an important part…


Medicine man: a market education

Last year, the Wellcome Collection in London had a glorious exhibition of anatomical models, called Exquisite Bodies. They were accompanied by banners from the fairs and markets where these models used to be shown. In the prudish Victorian age, they were often the only glimpse people got of naked bodies other than their own. Part education, part pornography, all entertainment. In the country markets of Indonesia, these models still take pride of place, though I’m not sure “exquisite” quite describes…


Indonesia’s antibiotic resistance mystery solved

Some years ago, when I was working on HIV prevention in Indonesia, we diligently treated sex workers for common infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, using national treatment guidelines. They were not cured. After much head-scratching, we sent some samples off for resistance testing. The results were pretty shocking. We found that 100% of our gonorrhea samples were resistant to tetracycline (marketed here as “SuperTetra!”), and 40% to Ciprofloxacin, the second commonly-subscribed antibiotic. (It took a shameful four years to…