Health News Tue, 18 Mar 2008

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Fake Diabetic Drugs On the Market

Last year, a delegation of students and lecturers from the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Services of the Florida A&M University led by Prof Henry Lewis arrived in Ghana to explore avenues of cooperation with some Ghanaian organizations.

According to the head of the delegation, whose other member is Assistant Professor Yussif M. Dokurugu, interesting results came out of the research work of the organizations and students they worked with.

The students' research found out that some drugs administered to diabetic patients were very low in active ingredients. This implies that patients put on such pharmaceutical drugs were inadvertently being under dosed with the consequence that the drug would prove to be inefficacious. Most of these drugs were said to have been mostly imported from India and Nigeria.

Professor Henry Lewis is of the conviction that more work must be done on the canker of importing fake drugs into the country and adequate data base built for effective remedial action to be sought if Ghana is tackle diabetes effectively. This is particularly essential in the light of some facts revealed by statistics.

Firstly, it is known that on the average, Africans die within five years of being diagnosed with diabetes, whereas people from the west live beyond that. The difference is that in the west it is difficult for fake drugs to enter the market, whereas in Africa dealing in fake drugs is the one of the most lucrative businesses, mostly at the cost of several lives. Prof. Lewis believes that there is no reason why those from the west can live with diabetes for long but not Africans.

Secondly, many pharmaceutical firms, being aware of the weak monitoring systems in place in Africa, tend to play careless with the quality of the products meant for the continent.

Professor Henry Lewis believes that the time has come for a concerted effort to be made to stem the tide of malpractices in the pharmaceutical drug trade, since the adverse effects are glaring for all to see. The professor sees the present cooperation he is seeking as the beginning of a process to deal with these issues.

A statement issued by P.K. Aloo, spokesman for Prof. Henry Lewis said the nature of the cooperation being explored is to allow some students of the college to spend summer in Ghana and research into areas of vital interest to Ghana and the State of Florida, USA.

This year, he plans to bring at least twelve students- ten to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and two to Ghana Standards Board. His college will pay for the upkeep of the students and their transportation. The institutions which accept the students for the program will also receive some payments for the use of their facilities for whatever work the students would undertake.

The work of the students apart from contributing to data for future action is also expected to help the institutions solve in-house problems. This is because the institutions would plan the assignments for the students and supervise the execution of such assignments.

Source: Public Agenda

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