Health Ministry launches campaign against counterfeit drugs

The Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that it is launching a new campaign under the title “Your source of cure guarantees treatment.” The campaign aims to combat the use of counterfeit and contraband drugs, and aims to end drugs smuggling by the year 2012.

Kamal Sabra, assistant to the health minister for pharmacology affairs, called on consumers to play their part in controlling the smuggling of contraband drugs, which he described as an “international phenomenon.”

In a press statement, Sabra said the new campaign will include a hotline for responding to consumer requests and reporting unregistered drugs. There will also be an audio-visual awareness campaign, and an electronic campaign using a specialized website, he said.

Sabra said market research using a sample of consumers revealed that 65 percent of the sample did not know that some drugs are smuggled. Moreover, 73 percent of the sample didn't know that smuggled drugs are not subject to the Health Ministry’s control.

The Ministry is currently working on increasing the number of inspectors, to reach 2000 by the end of next year, according to Sabra. The Ministry has also formed a team to overcome the use of counterfeit drugs, composed of representatives from the ministries of justice and the interior, in addition to the head of the Customs Department.

Sabra added that the number of counterfeit drugs on the market has decreased due to control over pharmacies as well as the imposition of stiff fines.

Ashraf Bayoumy, head of the Central Committee for Pharmacology Affairs, said 1000 inspectors had been appointed to inspect the state’s 45,000 pharmacies.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) statement, ten percent of drugs sold on global markets are counterfeit, while counterfeit drugs sold in developing nations reach 30 percent of all drugs sold.

Translated from the Arabic Edition. 

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