26th January 2010 Arusha Regional Police Commander, Basilio Matei Police in Arusha have unearthed a multi-million shilling scam of counterfeit sanitary pads manufactured in China destined for Arusha and Manyara regions. The security personnel stormed into an ultra-modern-house at Baraa ward in Arusha Municipality, where the pads were being kept, following a tip-off from members of the public. They impounded nearly 10,000 cartons of fake sanitary pads worth 210m/-. The police raid, the first largest successful operation this year, was conducted at mid-night over the weekend. We have dealt a significant blow to the illegal network of marketing fake pharmaceuticals, in this case a consignment of sanitary pads, Arusha Regional Police Commander, Basilio Matei said in a telephone interview. The kingpin behind the deal, is alleged to be one Paul Lema, who is still at large. Police say they are working extra hours to arrest him allegedly for committing a crime against public health. Medical experts say that fake pads have serious side-effects to the women who use them. Counterfeit sanitary pads can cause fungus, a urinary tract infection (UTI), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), said Dr. Baraka Mkongo, stressing that sometimes it can also cause cancer. He said some people in the country like cheap products so they have contributed to the flourishing of counterfeit goods business. The most dangerous counterfeits are the imitation medicines sold to unwitting consumers in Tanzania and across the developing world. A 2006 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that in developing countries in Africa, and in parts of Asia and Latin America, up to 30 per cent of medicines on the market are counterfeits. Counterfeit drugs are designed to fool consumers by using misleading packaging and mimicking the shape, colour, size and imprints of genuine drugs. Fake drugs sold in Tanzania's markets include knock-offs of so-called "lifestyle" drugs, such as those for erectile dysfunction and weight loss. But there are also imitations of life-saving pharmaceuticals, including anti-malarial and anti-cancer drugs. Often, counterfeits contain just trace amounts of the purported active ingredients, and sometimes no active ingredients at all. But they are usually difficult to identify without a laboratory test. "We've found that most pharmaceuticals don't have the content and quality of the drugs we'd expected, said Hussein Kamote, director of policy and advocacy at the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI), a trade group that issued a report lambasting Tanzania's thriving counterfeit market. He said when the group recently tested a batch of anti-malaria capsules, they contained only wheat flour. Fake drugs are extremely profitable. The Centre for Medicine in the Public Interest projects that fake drugs will generate US$75 billion in revenues this year, nearly double that of 2005. Global counterfeit syndicates use evolving consumer technologies that make it even easier to imitate legitimate drugs. "We are trying to tell people in Tanzania that counterfeits are dangerous products, they kill people," said John Mponela, head of the anti-counterfeits department at Tanzania's Fair Competition Commission. "They are not working for poor people, they work against poor people." The CTI estimates between 15 and 20 per cent of all merchandise circulating in the country is counterfeit, earning Tanzania a reputation as a dumping ground for imitation goods, including fake drugs. "These drugs come from abroad, and those who supply them know we need these drugs," Mponela is on record as saying. When they supply them, they supply them in parallel with the genuine drugs. They get more profit for nothing." SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN My Take: Wake zetu,Mabinti zetu,na jamaa zetu Wanawake watapona kweli?Je wanawake waache kutumia Pads?