Counterfeit drugs: A serious threat to effective health care-Chief Pharmacist
Audrey Micah, Ghanadot

Accra, Sept 17, Ghanadot - The Chief Pharmacist of Cocoa Clinic, Mr. Edward O. Amporful has expressed his worry about the influx of fake drugs to the Ghanaian market.


According to him, the counterfeited drugs do not only erode consumer confidence, but also the procurer is deceived into thinking he is being given the right product for his disease when he is not getting it.

In an exclusive interview with Ghanadot, Mr. Amporful revealed that fake drugs are currently estimated to make up about 10 percent of worldwide pharmaceutical market, with annual sales of about $ 35 billion.


He added that over 50 percent of global counterfeit medicines are produced in India and China.

He stressed that the fake drugs menace has ceased to be a problem found in only developing countries since the developed countries are being touched as well.

“The European Union seized 2,711,410 counterfeit medicines in 2006 and more than 360,000 fake Viagra pills in transit were seized at Roissy airport in France.

“The origin of these counterfeit drugs seized in 2006 by the E.U customs were as follows, India 31%, China 20%, United Arab Emirates 31% and others 18%.” Mr. Amporful said.

The Chief Pharmacist also noted that fake drugs extend from ordinary medicines used as pain relievers to highly advanced and complex life-saving drugs such as anti-retrovirals, anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics.

To him,  statistics on counterfeit medicines seized each year show that about 43% contain no active ingredient, 24% are of poor quality, and 21% contain low content of active ingredient with 7% containing wrong ingredient and 5% having wrong packaging.

“Drugs most faked by counterfeiters are high cost drugs, fast-moving, top-selling brands scarce and new drugs, consumers must watch out.”

The effects of fake medicines to him are catastrophic as counterfeit medicines lead to drug resistance.

“Ghana moved from the least expensive chloroquine therapy to the more expensive artemisinine combination therapy as first line treatment for malaria parasite, Thus counterfeit anti -malaria drugs do make treatment of malaria more expensive.

According to Mr. Amporful, fake drugs also affect the pharmaceutical industry negatively since they reduce the incentive to produce a particular drug as  cheap artificial drug, rather than the real product, saturate the market.

When asked what consumers can do to arrest the situation, Mr. Amporful said, though the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) is doing well in fighting against fake medicines, consumers must resist from buying medicines from unauthorized sources.

He called for joint participation of public and government to combat counterfeit drugs in Ghana.




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