Fakes Flooding Zimbabwe

27 10 2013

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), about 100,000 deaths per year are linked to the counterfeit drug trade in Africa. Since there are drug shortages in the hospitals, counterfeits are flooding the Zimbabwe market from places such as Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, and even as far as Asia. They consist of consignments of fake anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs – used to treat HIV), expired medications, and sexual enhancing pills. They’re being sold in flea markets, hair salons, and the day-to-day workplace.

Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe spokesperson Richard Rukwata said “The medicines could be counterfeited, meaning that they might not have the correct active ingredient, or may have too much of it; therefore there is the risk of overdose. Some of them may not have any active ingredient at all, therefore money will be wasted buying them since the so-called medicines would not have any curative effect. ” Then he went on to say that people selling the medicines are not trained in the use and administration of medicines and may claim that the medicines work for a particular condition when in fact they are meant for other conditions. He also said, “The authority does receive reports of the sale of medicines from unlicensed premises by unlicensed persons and always encourages members of the public to refrain from purchasing medicines from such places.”

If a medicine is used for something that it is not intended for, as Rukwata says, “the medicines become as dangerous as poison.” The counterfeits are like ammunition over there, meaning they are easily available. I’d say if we were to name them in America, ammunition would definitely not be the correct word, they’d be more like cheeseburgers. This is a very lucrative business and is flooding in every market imaginable. No one is immune to this.

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