KRG to pre­vent the im­port­ing of coun­ter­feit medicine

PM Barzani calls on the fed­eral Iraqi gov­ern­ment and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in fight­ing the im­port­ing of de­fec­tive medicine.

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

The Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) Min­istry of Health has de­cided to in­ten­sify its ef­forts to pre­vent the im­por­ta­tion of coun­ter­feit and de­fec­tive medicines into the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion. The Min­istry has an­nounced that it will em­ploy a phar­ma­cist at ev­ery en­trance check­point to put a stop to the im­por­ta­tion of de­fec­tive drugs.

At a re­cent press con­fer­ence at the Direc­torate of Qual­ity As­sur­ance of­fice in Er­bil, Min­is­ter Rekawt Hama Rasheed stated that the Kur­dis­tan Med­i­cal Con­trol Agency (KMCA) will be able to con­trol and in­spect the vast ma­jor­ity of the medicines im­port­ing into Kur­dis­tan.

“From now on, the min­istry will em­ploy a phar­ma­cist at en­trance check­points to check and in­spect the medicines brought into our cities,” Min­is­ter Rasheed said.

The min­istry is now equipped, Min­is­ter Rasheed said, to check the qual­ity of 90% of the medicines im­ported into Kur­dis­tan.

Re­gard­ing un­li­censed phar­ma­cies, Rasheed said that the min­istry is plan­ning to close all of them.

Medicines were pre­vi­ously sent to the UK for qual­ity checks, but the process was very time-con­sum­ing.

In a new ini­tia­tive, the min­istry signed a con­tract with a Bri­tish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal qual­ity con­trol com­pany last year in the pres­ence of Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani, with a view to im­prov­ing the qual­ity of the medicines avail­able in lo­cal mar­kets.

PM Barzani praised the Min­istry’s ef­forts and talked about the sig­nif­i­cant role the fed­eral Iraqi gov­ern­ment and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries can play in help­ing ad­dress the is­sue.

“Th­ese sorts of agree­ment are needed to en­sure the health and well-be­ing of our cit­i­zens,” Pre­mier Barzani said at the event.

The min­istry signed a con­tract on July 30, 2013 to im­port medicine for can­cer and other long-term dis­eases with nine in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies. It also an­nounced that it would be im­port­ing ad­di­tional medicines through other sources.

The nine phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are from Bri­tain, France, Amer­ica and Switzer­land.

At present, ev­ery medicine en­ter­ing Kur­dis­tan should be ap­proved ei­ther by the qual­ity con­trol bureau of the fed­eral Iraqi gov­ern­ment or the qual- ity con­trol in­sti­tu­tion based in Kur­dis­tan.

Dr Hozan Jer­jis, head of the lab­o­ra­tory in the qual­ity con­trol of­fice, told a Kur­dish news agency that “Medicines were im­ported to Kur­dis­tan with­out in­spec­tion years ago.”

He does not hide the fact that coun­ter­feit drugs are still cir­cu­lat­ing in prov­inces of Kur­dis­tan. He added that th­ese fake drugs are not im­ported by the reg­is­tered com­pa­nies li­censed by the min­istry.

Coun­ter­feit medicines are thought to ac­count for 18 % of the drugs used in Kur­dis­tan, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial who wished to re­main anony­mous. The phe­nom­e­non has be­come a real prob­lem for the peo­ple.

The fake medicines are brought into Kur­dis­tan across bor­der cross­ings, and are im­ported by sev­eral traders backed by pow­er­ful peo­ple.

The truth of this state­ment was proved last March, when the Min­istry raided a fake phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal fac­tory in Er­bil. A few tons of per­ilous drugs were found on the site.

Ex­perts say im­proved qual­ity con­trol mea­sures for food and medicine will keep Iraqis healthier.

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