Counterfeit Drugs : Safe And Effective Medicine

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Counterfeit Drugs in West Africa
Safe and effective medicine is an essential element to healthcare. Counterfeit drugs, which may not be safe or efficacious, have become a growing problem around the globe and are compromising treatment of disease and patient health. A counterfeit drug is essentially fake medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a counterfeit drug to be a product which has been deliberately or fraudulently mislabeled in regards to its identity and source. A counterfeit drug may have the wrong ingredients, no active ingredients, insufficient active ingredients or have fake packaging (WHO, 2005).
West Africa has increasingly become the target of various counterfeit medications, such as antibiotics, antimalarial
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Developing countries, such as those in West Africa, are targeted because legal controls are often weak. In these countries, the estimated proportion of counterfeit drugs is between 10% and 30%. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, however, reports that as much as 50-60% of anti-infective drugs in West Africa were found to have insufficient quantities of active ingredients. Although developed countries have increased regulation, they are also target because they offer greater gains to counterfeiters Here, counterfeit drug manufacturers can sell counterfeited high-value and high-demand drugs. WHO estimates that in developed countries where regulation and oversight is the strongest, counterfeit drugs make up less that 1% of market value. Nearly all kinds of drugs have been found to be counterfeited (WHO, 2006). In developing countries, including West African nations, it has been found that antimicrobial drugs are most frequently counterfeited, as these countries often have a high prevalence and burden of infectious diseases (Chika et al). In developed countries, counterfeited drugs are more often for chronic disease states, anticancer drugs or lifestyle drugs such as those for erectile dysfunction (Chika et al).
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