Bahrain steps up clamp on medicine imports
Manama, March 12, 2013
Only licensed agents will be allowed to import drugs into Bahrain as part of a crackdown on fake and illegal medications, a report said.
They will also only be able to import drugs approved for import by Bahrain's health authorities, added the report in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News (GDN).
The new rules are being brought in after it was discovered that pharmacies were shipping in and selling medication that was not approved for use by the Health Ministry.
They are being introduced by the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA), which wants to rid the local market of potentially dangerous and counterfeit drugs.
"This has been done to completely eliminate the availability of fake or counterfeit drugs from the Bahrain market and to allow only those medications that have been approved for sale and use in Bahrain," NHRA chief executive officer Dr Baha Eldin Fathea told the GDN.
"We are totally committed to patient safety and are determined to completely weed out all malpractice that threatens or compromises safety. Some of the drugs imported may be the best available, but if they have not been approved for use in Bahrain they will not be permitted.”
Dr Fathea acknowledged that some smuggling of unapproved medications would continue to take place, but said action would be taken against those caught.
"We are aware many pharmacies were directly importing drugs and many of the drugs were not registered in the country," revealed Dr Fathea.
"While most of the drugs being used in Bahrain are either registered in Bahrain or elsewhere in the GCC, some were not."
Dr Fathea earlier told the GDN that legislation was being put in place to tackle the problem of counterfeit and unauthorised drugs and ensure dealers procured supplies only through agents recognised by well-known manufacturers.
He said several leading drug companies had contacted authorities in Bahrain to say they could not be held responsible for any adverse effects caused by people consuming fake medication.
Around 30 per cent of medications anywhere in the world are considered spurious or counterfeit.
Dr Fathea said there were reports of fake medication bearing the names of well-known manufacturers being sold in Bahrain after being channelled through European or Arab countries. – TradeArabia News Service