Pharmacists urge action against fake drugs
Manama, January 3, 2013
Pharmacists in Bahrain have confirmed that huge quantities of fake medicines are being sold - and are demanding strong action from the authorities, a report said.
Around a third of medication sold in Bahrain could be fake, according to the report published yesterday (January 2) in our sister newspaper the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
Private Pharmacies Owners Society chief Dr Khalid Al Awadhi accused illegal "gangs" for unlawfully copying and packaging drugs and putting the lives of citizens in danger, according to a new report in GDN.
He said such drugs are not genuine and are largely sold in developing countries, but in Bahrain, all medicines imported through official channels undergo strict laboratory testing.
Wael Pharmacy general manager Dr Mo'men Abu Al Nasr said the phenomenon has long existed in the country. He cautioned patients against using drugs of unknown origin, and added that such medicines are not sold in large pharmacies.
Al Mustaqbal Pharmacy owner Dr Shaima Rafat said 'suitcase traders' buy fake drugs from abroad and sell them in Bahrain without strict laboratory tests.
"Some doctors source these medicines, which are not registered with the Health Ministry, and sell them at extremely high prices.
"This is happening in many clinics and an absence of a law to regulate drugs sale in clinics and private medical centres is a cause for major concern," she said.
Dar Al Fouad Clinic owner Dr Ossama Fuad said those controlling Bahrain's entry points must be held accountable when large quantities of fake medicines are smuggled into the country. He said the clinics that have no licence to sell these drugs should face strict action.
Bahrain International Hospital Consultant Rheumatologist Dr Ameel Hanna said Health Ministry has good control over drugs imported legally, but many patients buy medicines from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia because they are much cheaper there.
"Further controls must be put in place to stop small pharmacies from selling these smuggled medicines," he said.
However, Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi reiterated yesterday that all medicines at the ministry's warehouses and pharmacies are safe and imported through authorised agents of drug companies.
Lawyer Fareed Ghazi told our sister paper Akhbar Al Khaleej that the practice amounted to "commercial fraud", adding that anyone endangering people's lives must face criminal charges.
MP Khamees Al Rumaihi said such drugs pose a serious threat to patients' lives, calling on the Health Ministry to intensify control over drug retail outlets in the kingdom.
The minister met officials concerned with the import and sale of medicines and assured the public of the safety of all medicines procured through legal channels. – TradeArabia News Service