PRIOR to its meeting in Abuja which opened Monday in Abuja, the World Health Professions Alliance, WHPA, has been urging further action against counterfeiting of medical products that puts human lives at risk and undermines the credibility of health systems.
The conference holding at the International Conference Center,is the platform through which the body is expressing its concern about the infiltration and sale of counterfeit medical products in the legitimate supply chainin Nigeria and around the world.
In t he viw of President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr Azubuike Okwo, WHPA’s argument is that the only reason to combat counterfeit medicines is the protection of public health – disputes in trademark infringement and other intellectual property related crimes should never ever be the basis on which to define if a medical product is counterfeit or not.
His words: “Falsely labelled, fake, spurious or counterfeited medical products which misrepresent an otherwise legitimate medical product pose a very serious public health threat which demands sustained and co-ordinated international action to control.”
Failure to act against this criminal activity would be a fundamental breach of the trust placed in public health structures by patients,” said Mr Ton Hoek, General Secretary and CEO, International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP
The main channels for fake medical products supply include street markets in developing countries and the Internet. The harm caused by counterfeit medicines is greatest in those communities least able to afford effective regulatory systems and quality health care.
Said Ton Hoek, “Public health and patient safety are being put at risk and now is the time to act.
Increased vigilance by health care professionals and patients can help make public and individual health safer. Health professionals need to increasingly consider counterfeit medicines as a reason for non-response or unexpected response in pharmacotherapy in the patients they care for.”
WHPA recognises also that for health professionals to be able to effectively play their role, national authorities must set up effective systems for the collection of information and increase national drug and medical device regulatory capacity to support the enforcement of pharmaceutical guidelines.