Zambia launches crackdown on unlicensed covid-19 drugs
London, Jan. 19, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Scores of unlicensed covid-19 drugs have flooded the market in Zambia to the concern of the authorities who worried that such could significantly damaged the health of the people and slow down the fight against the pandemic
consequently, the Zambian government on Monday mandated the country’s medicines regulator to with immediate effect search and withdraw all unlicensed covid-19 medicines being used in the country
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said he had received reports that some people were being given medicines that have not been approved or licensed for use, saying this could cause complications in people taking such medicines.
Speaking after he toured Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka, the country’s capital which has been designated as a new COVID-19 isolation facility due to increasing numbers, the Zambian minister urged the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA) to rise to the occasion and withdraw such medicines.
He further said the use of local home-based remedies should not replace conventional medicines, adding that they should be used only as a complementary therapy.
The military hospital has been designated as a new COVID-19 isolation facility after the two other facilities in the city reached full capacity due to a surge in new cases during the second wave of the pandemic. It will be used for the admission of patients with moderate or less critical symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that growing numbers of fake medicines linked to coronavirus are on sale in developing countries
Last year, Interpol confiscated tens of thousands of counterfeit face masks and fake medicines, many of which claimed to be able to cure coronavirus.
“The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis, shows a total disregard for people’s lives,” said Interpol’s Secretary General Jurgen Stock
According to the WHO, the broader falsified medicines trade, which includes medicines which may be contaminated, contain the wrong or no active ingredient, or may be out-of-date, is worth more than $30bn in low and middle-income countries.
“Best case scenario they [fake medicines] probably won’t treat the disease for which they were intended”, said Pernette Bourdillion Esteve, from the WHO team dealing with falsified medical products.
“But worst-case scenario they’ll actively cause harm, because they might be contaminated with something toxic.”