Archive for Health

Counterfeit Drugs Problem

The BBC recently reported that Belgian authorities seized large quantities of counterfeit drugs destined for Africa. This is an alarming report and one of the most dangerous and pressing issues facing Africans today. The issue of counterfeit drugs is not new and will continue to get worse unless governments around the world and the UN start taking it extremely seriously.

Those who manufacture and distribute fake drugs are responsible for the deaths of countless patients and need to be treated as what they are: mass murderers. As such, governments in countries where these drugs are manufactured should be compelled to prosecute them and/or extradite them to countries where the drugs were sold and patients died as a result of taking the drugs.

According to the report the fake drugs were manufactured by a company based in India. The world, and particularly the west African countries where the drugs were destined must press the Indian government to fully prosecute the manufacturers. It is more than likely that this wasn’t the first shipment, and fake drugs made by these criminals are in circulation in Africa and murder charges should be brought against those responsible. Fake malaria drugs kill, and those responsible must be prosecuted for murder, and not be treated like white collar criminals and prosecuted for fraud.

Prosecution alone is not going to solve the problem since this is a very lucrative business, and other measures are needed to limit the amount of fake drugs being sold. Manufacturers of legitimate drugs, whose products are being counterfeited, need to work with African and other third world countries (who are bearing the brunt of this problem) to setup labs to test random samples of drugs being sold in those countries. I believe the best way to do this is to setup a non-profit organization, funded by the drug companies, where the organization would then be tasked to work with the drug companies, governments, hospitals and pharmacies to randomly test drugs, and also educate health workers and pharmacists to lookout for telltale signs of counterfeit drugs. On the surface this may sound like an unfair burden is being placed on the drug companies, but i believe in the long run these companies will more than get their money back since the reduction of fake drugs in the market will mean that the void will be filled by real drugs.

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