Anti-Malarials, Antibiotics Most Counterfeited Drugs – Study

By PRUDENCE IJAH, Abuja

A New study on the rise of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Africa has revealed that antimalarials and antibiotics are among the most widely reported counterfeits as counterfeiters target high demand drug types.

According to the study, half of antimalarials fail to meet quality standards while antibiotics account for a significant share of falsified medical products reported to the World Health Organization.

Counterfeit medicines put people’s lives at risk, finance criminal groups and cause profound public health challenges hence the need to address the growing phenomenon of counterfeit medicines in Africa.

In his address, the Acting Director General of Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) Dr Bakut Tswah Bakut expressed worry that medicines being used for treatment of common and deadly diseases such as Malaria, typhoid, syphilis, HIV amongst others are the most counterfeited.

Bakut said “these falsified medicines have maimed many innocent persons while the threats are enormous. The danger of the circulation of these fake drugs requires the concerted efforts of the public, private organizations and every citizen.

He reiterated the need to sustain the fight against the spread of counterfeit medicines to save lives and improve public health by ensuring the availability of only standard and efficacious medicines in the public domain which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 of the United Nations which seeks good and safe health for all people.

Sustainable Development Goal 3 places significant emphasis on population’s health and sub-target 3.8 specifies access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all hence the need to address the trend of counterfeit medicines in Africa.

Earlier, the Technical Coordinator Enhancing Africa’s response to transnational organised crime (ENACT) Project Martin Ewi said the study revisits the scale and effects of counterfeits drugs in Africa and makes recommendations on actions related to awareness, legal aspects, supply chain and law enforcement.

According to Ewi, “the chance of getting the right medications in Africa is low due to counterfeit medicines”

The European Union Delegation Abuja, Stedania Marrone said the network of counterfeit medicines is a major loss to countries of the world. Money is lost to social services and African economy.

While launching the study by Rabin Cartwright and Ana Baric, the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole said that Counterfeiting is a global menace that leads to loss of lives, adding that sales of counterfeit products increased in 2005 to 2010.

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