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 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.