surge in the widespread proliferation of counterfeit drugs mostly in the porous
borders of West Africa is growing by the day. It is an indisputable fact that
the international trade in fake medicines, which rakes in billions of dollars a
year, is estimated to harm hundreds of thousands of people every year.
It is reported in Yesterday’s news that Customs officials at the country’s border village of Naymanar have taken into custody a 45-year-old Guinean national who tried to smuggle fake drugs into the country.
We therefore, commend the regional customs officials alongside medical control agencies for their high sense of professionalism and duty to serving their dear nation.
What is clear is that war on counterfeit drugs calls for multi-faceted approach and combined forces to stem the flow of bad drugs from our society.
Smuggling of counterfeit drugs into The Gambia was illegal for her, as she was not licensed to import medicines into the country under the provision of medicine laws.
Annually, the distribution of fake medicines through our porous borders continue un-noticed and in most cases channels that circumvent detection from national regulatory authorities. The global trade in fake medicines is always on the rise.
The challenges faced by many in low-income countries seeking anti-malarial drugs from their community pharmacies or the black market are different from the threats posed by counterfeit versions of fentanyl-laced pills sold by traffickers to satiate demand from.
There is need for sustained and coordinated action, strengthening law enforcement, legal and judicial capacity, and long-term investment in anti-counterfeiting measures, pharmaco vigilance, and leveraging advances in digital technology such as block chain and machine learning for supply chain data provenance and analysis.
These efforts to enhance the resilience of the global drug supply chain must be carried out by inclusive and genuine partnerships, with the WHO leading from a public health standpoint and openly partnering with other international organizations, such as the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization, and Interpol, to engage all sectors that can help in the fight against fake medical products.
Let’s all be vigilant and stand against the proliferation of counterfeit drug in our dear motherland!
“Punishment for putting patients at risk ought to reflect the gravity of manufacturing, distributing or selling counterfeit medications.”