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