Counterfeit medicines still a threat
The recent meeting involving East African pharmaceutical manufacturers, government officials and UN agencies raised many important points.
Over dependence on imports is seen as a major challenge and I agree, but in your report not much was said about the threat of counterfeits to our people.
Regional standards bureaus are playing a vital role in limiting this menace, but I also believe that those who knowingly import these drugs must be given severe punishments. Remember human lives are at stake here.
And let us also not forget that counterfeit medicines can be made locally and not always imported directly.
That said I support local drugs makes be given as much preference as possible. We can learn from other countries. India for example made it a priority to be as self-sufficient in basic drugs as possible. Today, the Indians are leading exporters of generic drugs because they have steadily built up a strong local manufacturing and research base.
This raises the point of accepting wholesale donations of medicines from foreign donors without considering the full implications. Are we not accepting dependency, because users may not be able to take anything else?
However, local manfacturers have to step up by constantly adhering to the required standards. Once that is settled then consumers will be reassured.