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War against fake drugs gets boost

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BabuK, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    Private investor donates five detection mini-labs

    Health and Social Welfare minister Dr. Hadji Mponda (L) receives a mobile mini-lab kit from German-based Merck executive chairman Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley (R), as German ambassador to Tanzania Klause-Peter Brandes looks on.

    The country’s war against counterfeit drugs got a major boost yesterday from a German private investor who donated five mobile mini-laboratories to detect fake drugs imported and circulated in the local market.
    German-based Pharmaceutical, chemical and life science company, Merck, yesterday announced strategic and comprehensive plans to support government-led initiatives aimed at halting circulation of counterfeit drugs, increasingly becoming a big threat to millions of lives.
    Merck donated five mobile compact-laboratories for detecting inferior and counterfeit medicines. The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF), a charitable initiative funded by Merck, donated the mini-labs for deployment in Tanzania.
    “Counterfeit medicines are a serious threat to health care. With these mini-labs, we are directly protecting people from what can be a deadly risk,” said Dr Karl-Ludwig Kley, Chairman of the Merck Executive Board, who officially presented the donation to the Health and Social Welfare Minister, Dr Haji Mponda.
    He expressed optimism that the mini-labs would help to improve the structures for drug monitoring and ensuring “scarce resources are not wasted on worthless, and even hazardous, medicines.”
    Dr Mponda thanked the German company for the donation, saying it would help to intensify the country’s fight against counterfeit medicines.
    “The mobile compact laboratories are globally unique for their ability to detect counterfeits quickly, cost-efficiently and reliably. With them, we can relieve bottlenecks in quality control for medicines, especially in rural areas,” stressed Mponda.
    He said the government through Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) instituted a quality assurance programme in 2002 in order to check counterfeit drugs.
    Established with financial and technical support from the World Health Organization and Management Sciences for Health, respectively, the programme aims to screen the quality of medicines entering the market from foreign and domestic manufacturers and deny market entry to substandard and counterfeit medical products.
    “Among other objectives, the programme intends to develop an appropriate and comprehensive national quality assurance system that would be capable of ensuring to a great extent that both imported and locally manufactured medicines meet approved quality, safety and efficacy standards,” added the minister.
    Charys Ugulum, TFDA Director of Laboratory Services saluted German investors for the technical support, describing the mini-labs as strategic tools for reducing circulation of counterfeit drugs in the country’s markets.
    “Fake or counterfeit drugs is a global problem…it does not affect us (Tanzania) alone…its negative effects are felt by many countries…so, it requires massive support from all players governments, private companies, individuals etc, if we want to drive fake drugs out of the markets,” Ugulum told reporters, shortly after the presentation.
    The International Police Organization -Interpol estimates that up to 30 per cent of all medicines in Africa are either counterfeit or of inferior quality.
    The mini-labs donated by the German company consist of two portable and tropic-resistant suitcases that contain the means to detect inferior or ineffective medicines. It offers quick, simple and low-cost test methods to check medicines for external abnormalities, identity and content, and identifies 57 active pharmaceutical ingredients.
    Meanwhile Merck yesterday announced its commitment to back up government initiatives aimed at fighting against bilharzias (schistosomiasis) in Tanzania.
    “We have committed to continuing our efforts in Africa, including Tanzania, in cooperation with WHO until schistosomiasis is eliminated…to date, we have provided WHO annually with up to 25 million tablets containing the active ingredient praziquantel, free of charge. In the medium term, we will increase that number tenfold to 250 million per year. Tanzania will also benefit from this.”