Stop importing fake medicines for the sake of public health


THOUGH the news outlets for several times reported about fake drugs flooding the country's markets, but it is an open secret that some drug traders are doing this illicit business almost freely across the country. Lack of surveillance by law enforcement agencies and method to verify the drugs' originality are two main reasons behind the present situation. Substandard and fake medicines can cause treatment failure and have adverse impacts on patients. They can also increase mortality and raise the chance of antibiotic resistance.
Hopefully, the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) with the help of USAID set up six portable labs that would maximize the capacity of the Directorate in checking drugs either fake or original. Before that, the DGDA had only two labs to monitor 40,285 products of 858 local pharmaceuticals companies and a lot of imported medicines. We hope, the mini-labs will relief the Drug Administration, though very little, in its acute inadequacy of resource, manpower and laboratory facilities.
However, rural people, who are believed to be unaware of the situation, are generally the victims of the adulterated medicines. Recently, a lot of people are being cheated buying adulterated insulin. As the telecommunication became cheaper and widespread in the country, it is not difficult to initiate verifying system by manufacturers, importers or Drug Administration. According to the drug makers, an estimated Tk 600 crore of counterfeit medicines is traded in the Tk 18,000 crore medicine market in Bangladesh each year.
Two local companies, however, have introduced SMS-based authentication service in the country and several mobile apps also provide the image of original drugs though the apps are not known to all. All the major drug manufacturers should be brought under umbrella apps by the Health Ministry.
Our appeal is to stop importing fake medicines for ruining the health of our people.