Business News of 2014-08-23

Pharmacists take fight to fake drugs

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH) James Ohemeng Kyei says the local pharmaceutical industry is seriously threatened by the influx of fake drugs, which is gradually affecting the business of genuine drug manufacturers in the country.

“It is very threatening the situation that we find ourselves in currently; we have drugs on the Ghanaian market today that are either counterfeit or sub-standard, and the industry is very worried about this trend.

“The situation is invariably limiting the production capacity of local manufacturers of genuine drugs. Fake drugs sell cheaper because the raw materials used to produce them are fake, and producers of such drugs do not go through the strict processes that are supposed to be followed during production,” he told B&FT on the sidelines of the launch of “PREVENT”, an innovative campaign to tackle the situation, in Accra

He said fake products compete with genuine medicines for market share, which hurts the bottom line of pharmaceutical producers.

“PREVENT” is an acronym for Patients’ Research, Empowerment, Vigilance, and Education through New Technologies and it is an initiative born out of a collaboration between the PSGH and two technology firms, mPedigree Networks and Pop Out, which seeks to empower the general public to detect fake drugs through extensive online education and real-time mobile authentication when making a purchase.

For mobile authentication, manufacturers will tag drugs with a hologram and a scratch panel. The prospective buyer in this case will scratch the panel to reveal the hidden code and then text the digits to a short code for quick feedback on the genuineness of the product.

Mr. Kyei said the initiative is a strong move from the society to tackle the alarming trend, which is a major factor responsible for the increase in deaths and diseases in Ghana.

“PSGH is worried about fake drugs on the market accounting for thousands of deaths in the country and beyond; we are using this campaign to educate the general public on the situation and how to detect such spurious drugs.

“This, we believe, will contribute to the quality assurance process in the health system and will extend the fight against fake drugs into the hands of the public, especially patients. Pharmacies will also be able to easily track drugs that need to be recalled.”

Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, in a speech read on his behalf, commended the PSGH for the initiative which, he said, will protect the lives of millions of Ghanaians from the adverse implications of fake drugs.

He said “PREVENT” is a cutting-edge innovation that will maintain a secure pharmaceutical supply chain in the country’s health system and help to avert the huge negative impact that counterfeit drugs continue to have on pharmaceutical companies.

Source: B&FT
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