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Counterfeit medicines main focus at summit

Dubai, January 17, 2012

Increase in the widespread use of counterfeit medicines in the Middle East region will be the main highlight of the Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East Summit set to take place from February 26 to 28.

Top Dubai Customs and Ministry of Health officials will speak at the summit which will be held at the Amwaj Rotana Dubai, said a statement.

Counterfeit medicines, already widespread in the developing world, are now being found increasingly in the Middle East. Counterfeits have been found to contain toxic substances, the statement said.

Others contain no active ingredient, or the wrong amount of it - damaging to any medical treatment, but dangerous when patients are being treated for serious illness. In most cases, it is impossible for the non-expert eye to distinguish the fakes from the originals.

The World Health Organisation’s International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (Impact) estimates that fake pharmaceuticals make up 1 percent of drug sales in developed countries and approximately 30 percent in some countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The appearance of counterfeit medicines in international commerce was first mentioned as ? problem at the WHO Conference of Experts on Rational Drug Use in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985, it said.

Since then, public awareness of the problem of counterfeit drugs has grown. Both government authorities and pharmaceutical companies have been concerned with efforts aimed at preventing the problem, and WHO has received reports related to counterfeit drugs from some of its member states on ? voluntary basis. The problem is known to involve both developed and developing countries.

“Dubai sits at the node of several transit points. Goods from Africa and Asia bound for the rest of the world pass through the city’s ports at a fast pace. This pace – approximately six hours for sea cargo to be checked, driven through Dubai’s roads and put on an outbound plane – appeals to people trying to ship illicit goods,” said Mohammad Al Mari, head of the Intellectual Property Rights Section of Dubai Customs.

“In UAE, health and customs officials are working together to develop strategies for preventing counterfeit drugs, they have established a national committee on counterfeit drugs and have increased the number of inspectors at entry points,” said divisional director of pharma events, Doaa Said.

The chair of the new national committee and the CEO of medical practice and licence at the Ministry of Health, Dr Amin Al Amiri, said the committee will extend its reach beyond the pharmaceuticals used to treat chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases preferred by counterfeiters to medical devices and food supplements.

“It is not just the fake medicines that pose a threat to public health. We need to prevent fake medical devices and food supplements too,” Al Amiri said. “That is why the committee wants to monitor the import and export of medical devices and food supplements as well.”

“Knowing the important role of the Ministry of Health and Dubai Customs in preventing counterfeit medicine and the necessity to engage them with the pharmaceutical companies, we have invited Dr Amin Al Amiri and Yousef Ozair, manager of Intellectual Property Rights at Dubai Customs to join the Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East Summit and we look forward to engaging all the required stakeholders to ensure patient safety,” said Said.

The Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East will gather world leading experts to address the urgent concerns and challenges of the pharmaceutical logistics industry and the latest trends in the pharmaceutical supply chain management, the statement said. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai Customs | Ministry of Health | Counterfeit Medicines | Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East |

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