Monday, November 8, 2010

11% of Ghana's Children Under 5 Die - More Can Live if Counterfeit Drugs are Reduced

Ghanaian religious leaders committed to decreasing child mortality rates decried counterfeit drug purveyors at the 8th Annual National Catholic Health Services Conference.

In a post that appeared on-line at SafeMedicines, the 8th National Catholic Health Services Conference (NCHS) Annual Conference met in October to discuss “Monitoring for Continuous Improvement: Using Whole System Measures”.

The NCHS annual conference was instituted to create a forum for Catholic Church health institutions to share common and peculiar concerns and experiences.

According to the SafeMedicines' post:

Ghana’s children suffer 110 deaths for each 1000 children under five years of age, or 11%. One of the most common sources of mortality is malaria. Anti-malarial drugs are among the most common counterfeited in Africa and Southeast Asia where malaria is pervasive.

• The Most Reverend Joseph Afrifa-Agyekum Chairman for Catholic Health Services argued that purveyors of dangerous counterfeit drugs take advantage of unsuspecting people who buy their fake medicines. He said drug counterfeiters take advantage of countries where regulations and law enforcement on drug safety are limited to exploit them and indicated that developing countries where regulatory and enforcement agencies are poorly underfunded and understaffed are a haven for the distribution of fake drugs.

• He (Afrifa-Agyekum) then went on to ask the government of Ghana to take action through the Food and Drugs Board, the Ministry of Health, regulatory bodies and security agencies against the threat of counterfeit medications, stressing that the Catholic Church was committed to working alongside the government.

• According to the source, Upper East Regional Minister Mark Woyongo praised Afrifa-Agyekum and the Catholic Church for their involvement in and aid for the fight against counterfeit drugs.

This story is a cautionary tale and a wake up to those within developed countries. Counterfeit products, specifically medications are not a victimless crime. Fraudulent, adulterated, sub-standard and counterfeit drugs have far reaching implications to entire populations. Drug resistant strains of diseases know no borders nor do they differentiate between the rich and poor.

This crime of counterfeit drugs has the potential to create heath care epidemics and deadly disasters and is one of the largest criminal and health issues of the 21st century.

To read the entire SafeMedicines post, visit:

To learn more about anti-counterfeiting technologies, visit:

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