In a move to help sanitise the African pharmaceutical market currently faced with a proliferation of unwholesome generic medicines, multinational pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, (GSK) has launched a range of generics to provide access to safe and quality medicines across the continent.
The company’s Commercial Development Manager, Africa, Mr Jide Adeosun said the addition of the drugs has provided opportunity to enrich their portfolio with cardiovascular and oncology molecules. These brands cut across various categories: anti-infectives, cardiovascular, metabolic, gastroenterology, central nervous system and oncology.”
Prof. Udoma Mendie, a professor of pharmaceutics and Dean, School of pharmacy, University of Lagos described the circulation of bad medicines in virtually all countries in the African continent as “the greatest sorrows of Africa” saying they are responsible for therapeutic failure in patients.
He cited studies across the African continent which revealed that several generic drugs in circulation either do not contain the same active ingredients as the original formulations or do not even contain any active ingredient at all.
According to him, no fewer than 53 percent of all generics of a very popular antibiotic (ceftriaxone), for instance, failed the specifications of the manufacturer of the original formulation when tested in line with the quality standards specified in European and US pharmacopoeias.
“One generic had 10 contraventions/ most common failures were clarity and presence of thiotriazinone, a degradation product; 53 percent contained over fivetimes the number of particles found in (the original formulation) and 32 percent (11/34) of the products’ content was more than 10-fold. The Don also cited a study in Senegal which revealed that 95 percent of a generic antibiotic contained flour and no active pharmaceutical ingredients, while 90 percent of another, contained no active ingredient.
Prominent pharmacist and Managing Director of Jaykay Pharmacy in Lagos, Mr Jimi Agbaje observed that about 10 million lives could be saved every year in Africa and South-East Asia alone by improving access to medicines globally. He said the pharmaceutical industry in Africa is operating at only 50-60 percent capacity due to the high cost of capital, high energy costs, frequent interruptions in electricity supply and competition from cheap imports of generic medicines from India and China.