MoH, Pfizer team up against fake drugs
Dubai, December 16, 2009
The UAE Ministry of Health and Pfizer, the leading pharmaceuticals firm, have organised a conference aimed at protecting patients from the dangers of counterfeit pharmaceutical products by developing enhanced, practical policies.
“The constitution of the UAE emphasises that the community will ensure the wellbeing of citizens and establish means of prevention and treatment of diseases and encourage the establishment of hospital treatment in both the public and private sector,” said Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, UAE Minister of Health.
“The conference comes within the framework of our state's keenness to meet the challenges that hinder the progress of the health sector, the framework of our social responsibility,” he added.
“This conference brings new ideas on how government, law enforcement agencies and the pharmaceutical industry can work together to tackle this growing global problem.”
Over the course of the conference, attending senior officials from ministries of health, police and customs from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE, and Yemen will focus on sharing best practices, encouraging transnational cooperation and collaboration, highlighting the importance of legislative and regulatory reforms, and developing a specific plan of action for each participating country.
“While medicine counterfeiting remain a significant safety challenge for the healthcare community worldwide, the vigorous partnership between the public and private sector members represent a new movement that is gathering solid momentum here and around the world,” said Guy Lallemand, regional president for Africa and Middle East, Pfizer.
“It is clear that governments, international organizations, police, customs, cross-industry representative bodies, and the pharmaceutical industry now treat counterfeiting with the seriousness it deserves. At Pfizer, we believe that innovation and collaboration can be the answer for many of the challenges we face today,” he added.
Counterfeit pharmaceutical production is a growing international issue. In the Gulf, Dubai Customs Authority seized over $5.4 million worth of counterfeit drugs in one of the region’s largest raids in September 2007. By the first five months of 2008 the Authority also seized and destroyed 293 tonnes of seized counterfeit products.
Pharmaceutical counterfeiting poses a serious threat to public health and safety with products created on unlicensed and unregulated sites, frequently under unsanitary conditions. The counterfeit medicines produced contain unknown quantities of active pharmaceutical ingredients, and have been found to include toxins like arsenic, boric acid and lead; in addition to brick dust, floor wax and cartridge ink.
Dr Amin Al Amiri, CEO for medical practice and licensee, UAE Ministry of Health, said the conference will focus in its scientific development of practical solutions to the issue of counterfeit medicines, pointing out that the World Health Organization reports two thirds of the world is victim to counterfeit drugs, and people are dying on a daily basis.
He pointed out that WHO acknowledges the issue of counterfeit medicine is a form of organized crime and should be prosecuted by law.
He said that the UAE introduced a new law since 2009 requiring all companies to register medical equipment and supplies, so that the ministry will not allow entry of any medical device, starting from January next year without prior registration.
This law also includes veterinary medicines and medical supplies and medicines derived from natural sources and herbal cosmetics and accessories, said Dr Al Amiri. – TradeArabia News Service