MCA under fire over ‘possible counterfeit drugs’ saga

Friday, August 09, 2019

Inhabitants in the Kanifing Municipality have blamed the Medical Control Agency (MCA), the regulatory body mandated to regulate all matters relating to efficacy, quality and safety of medicines and related products in the country over possible ‘counterfeit drugs’ in the market.

“I am so disappointed with the MCA over lack of control over possible counterfeit drugs that could be in the market. If the body responsible of products that are coming into the country are saying that 75% of the products in the market are not registered, this means the agency is not doing its job properly,” says Lamin Jaiteh a concerned person in an interview yesterday.

 He therefore urged the authorities to do something about it.

Recall: Essa Marenah, the principal regulatory officer of the MCA told The Point on Monday during an interview that 75% of medicines and other related products that are circulating in the market are not registered with the MCA, warning that there could be fake medicines in our market.

“Most of the products that are sold in the pharmacies are not registered. Notwithstanding, if you want to apply the law on the dealers, it’s like no one will bring a product in The Gambia. So long the products are not registered; the agency can’t tell you anything about the products.”

Jaiteh queried: “What is the reason of the MCA in the country? If certain pharmacies in the country that are importing medicines in the country are admitting that they are selling two to three products in their pharmacies that didn’t go with the requirements with the MCA.”

He said no nation can develop in the absence of good health. “The fundamental objectives of MCA are to ensure that those pharmacies that don’t meet the requirements of the agency and are selling products should be closed.”

“I was so disappointed when I read the paper and realised that there could be counterfeit drugs in the market. If this is true, then I believe MCA should be scrapped,” he told The Point.

Isatou Tamba, another concerned citizen also expressed her total ‘disappointment’ at the regulatory body. “As a consumer, I fear even going to the pharmacies more especially those that admitted selling some products that do not meet the requirements of the agency. The media should play an important role in this aspect in trying to sensitise the public on the health implications about counterfeit drugs.”

Alaa El Mohajer, managing director of City Pharmacy, who was contacted by our reporter for comments over possible counterfeit drugs in the market said: “Our number one priority is the health of citizenry. I can assure you that we are following all the rules and requirements of the regulatory body in the country.”

“We were told some months back by our customers about some products that were in the market and didn’t contain manufacturer’s details and the source of the drugs. We informed MCA about the development. We were hoping that action would be taken immediately,” he told The Point.  

He added: “We have informed our customers that we don’t sell any product that does not contain the source of the medicine and the manufacture’s details for the fact that it is the right of the patients to know the source of that medicine.”

Our reporter has attempted on several occasions to speak to the managing director of Stop Step Westfield pharmacy and the managing director of Banjul Pharmacy but to no avail.

Author: Momodou Jawo