Fake medicines galore found in a Bangladesh factory
The medicines market is flooded with a large number of spurious medical products in Bangladesh while traders take stock of ineffective regulation and lack of market monitoring. A well prepared police investigation lead to a joint drive by the health district administration and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) at a counterfeit drug factory in the Chittagong district end of last month recovering plenty of falsified medicines including their starting material to treat infections and other disorders.
Fake Medicines and Malaria
One third of the antimalarials in Africa are counterfeit and it has been estimated that fake antimalarial medicines contribute to nearly 450,000 preventable deaths per year. The international campaign Fight The Fakes, also supported by the GPHF, now published this descriptive infographic on these topics.
Minilabs will support drug quality verification study in Malawi
The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) contributes one of its Minilabs to a drug quality verification study in Malawi. Under the mentorship of Professor Lutz Heide from the University Tübingen, the study is designed to monitor the quality of antimalarial and antibacterial medicines circulating in the country and will be performed by the pharmaceutical institute of the University of Malawi based in Blantyre. Collaborators are Albert Petersen form the German Institute for Medical Mission and Dr. Richard Jähnke from the GPHF. A second GPHF-Minilab for this project will be donated by the University of Tübingen and a third one is already sitting at the Nkhoma Synod Health Department of the Central Africa Presbyterian Church.
Obstacles to fight counterfeit medicines effectively
Using the GPHF-MinilabTM, a large quantity of counterfeit medicines were detected at the Luanda docks in Angola in June 2012. The tablets for the treatment of malaria and worm infections contained no or wrong active ingredients and over a million treatment packs of them were hidden in loudspeakers arriving in sea containers from China. How this case developed since then and what conclusion should be drawn from this case for the future is now discussed by an international team of experts including Dr. Richard Jähnke from the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) in the September issue of The Lancet. See the full correspondence to the editor at “Falsified medicines in Africa: all talk, no action”.
Minister joins Minilab training
Onset 2014, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) and the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) programme run by USP/USAID each provided one Minilab to the National Drug Quality Laboratory in Guinea-Conakry. Last month a Minilab introductory training for more than twenty people was performed. Even the Minister of Health, Médecin Colonel Dr. Remy Lamah, paid a visit to the lab. He highly spoke about the technical assistance given in fighting the menace of fake and substandard quality medicines known to circulate in the West African region. The training on the GPHF-Minilab was covered by the local TV station too.
Expanding antimalarial medicines quality monitoring in Kenya
In Kenya last week, six more counties have been equipped with Minilabs and twenty two more technicians been trained at the National Quality Control Laboratory and Pharmacy & Poisons Board in Nairobi by the ongoing antimalarial quality surveillance project run by the Promoting the Quality of Medicines programme (PQM) maintained jointly by USP and USAID. The technical briefing on the Minilab’s operational procedures was supported by the Global Pharma Health Fund. For more information please see here.
Training on the GPHF-Minilab™ in India
Onset this month, five people including three doctors, one pharmacist and a senior manager have been trained on the use of the GPHF-MinilabTM at the Baptist Christian Hospital (BCH) in Tezpur, an Indian town in the Assam state near the Nepalese border. The training was conducted by the staff from the Community Development Medicinal Unit (CDMU) based in Odisha-Bhubanewar and the feedback on the training was excellent. Uncontrolled cross-border trading is immanent in the Tezpur region and the chance to see even falsified medicines is high. BCH Tezpur and CDMU Odisha are part of the Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network using Minilabs developed by the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) and donated by the German Institute for Medical Mission. Photo credit: BCH Tezpur.
Tons of fake medicines have been secured
During an international operation coordinated by INTERPOL more than 200 tons of fake and illicit medicines have been secured in West Africa. The market value of the confiscated goods was about 25 million US dollar. For more information go to http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2014/N2014-099
Once again the GPHF-Minilab™ has proved a reliable assistant to the local drug inspectors. Thanks to the mobile laboratory a fake antibacterial without the prescribed ingredient was detected in Cameroon.
Eleven new partners join global Fight the Fakes campaign
Following the campaign’s six-month anniversary, Fight the Fakes announces eleven new partners, bringing the total number of member organizations to twenty-five. New partners, representing wholesalers, pharmacists, mobile app services, coalitions for consumer protection and generic pharmaceutical manufactures, join the campaign to speak up and spread the word about the devastating impact of fake medicines. These organizations add to a diverse group of standing partners, including healthcare professionals, disease-specific organizations, research-institutes, product-development partnerships, foundations, non-profits and the private sector, coordinating efforts in the fight against fake medicines.
The eleven new partners are the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP), the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy in the EU (ASOP EU), the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), the European Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (GIRP), the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), the International Pharmaceutical Students Federation (IPSF), Mobilium, the Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM), PSM India and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI).
For more information please visit the website www.fightthefakes.org
GPHF run Minilab training in Nigeria
From April 27 till May 02, 2014 the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) run a training course on the GPHF-Minilab in Lagos, Nigeria. Headed by Dr. Richard Jähnke, 25 pharmacists from Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as well as Central Medical Stores were trained in the use of the mobile miniature lab to detect counterfeit drugs.
Counterfeit and substandard drugs are a serious health problem in Nigeria, too. A national drug quality survey performed in 2001 showed that 40% of all medicines were counterfeit and since 2009, NAFDAC destroyed counterfeit medicines and other substandard regulated products worth € 900 million. More than 50 Minilabs are already located in Nigeria and represent a major contribution to protect the Nigerian people from the danger of counterfeit drugs that may constitute a serious health risk.
The meaning of the training was to optimize the use of the Minilab in Nigerians ports and hospitals and to demonstrate the versatile applications of the Minilab test methods. Dr. Jähnke was more than happy with the outcome of the training and pointed out the engagement of all the participants. They were also highly satisfied, too, and described the training course as a “superb experience” and the Minilab’s operation procedures itself as easy and stress-free to perform.
GPHF-Minilab joins Festival of Sciences in the USA
The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) partnered with the U.S. Department of State on the theme to "Find the Fake!" by hosting an exhibit based on the Minilab kit at the USA Science and Engineering Festival on April 25-27 in Washington, DC. The Festival inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers by celebrating science and innovation. The 2014 Festival was attended by over 325,000 students.
The exhibit featured a hands-on experiment from the Minilab kit to highlight the ease of counterfeiting and the importance of drug testing. The presence at the Festival helped build awareness about the need to improve medicines quality and combat the proliferation of counterfeit medicines in the developing world.
CePAT receives first Minilab to aid in detection of fake medicines
The Center for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CePAT) in Ghana has just received a GPHF-Minilab™ to aid in detection fake medicines. Minilab checks medicines for the correct active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and equips regulatory authorities with a portable and low-cost means of protecting patients from counterfeit drugs.
CePAT and Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) last year formed a strategic alliance to work together to improve access to good quality, safe, and beneficial medicines and also strengthen human resource capacity to conduct quality control testing to detect substandard and counterfeit medications in Africa.
General Meeting of GPHF with good results
On the occasion of its Annual General Meeting, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) issued a positive statement on the past year's project work. A total of 76 GPHF-Minilabs were delivered and seven more tests for active pharmaceutical ingredients were developed. Overall more than 650 mobile laboratories to detect counterfeit drugs are now working in nearly 90 countries worldwide. With the minilab overall 70 drug compounds including their appropriate fixed-dose combination products can be identified. During the meeting Frank Gotthardt (Chairman), Dr. Walter Huber (Vice Chaiman) and Stefan D. Schröder (Treasurer) were re-elected for three more years.
GPHF joins as partner of „Fight the Fakes“
The Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) has become partner of the global campaign “Fight the Fakes”. The campaign’s objective is to raise awareness on the growing issue of counterfeit drugs and the related health risks. “Fight the Fakes” is run by various international healthcare organizations. For more information on “Fight the Fakes” and the engagement of the GPHF please visit http://fightthefakes.org.
GPHF-Minilab Method Extension 2014
The GPHF-Minilab is now capable of verifying drug identity and content on 70 active pharmaceutical ingredients for a plethora of vital medicines including their most common fixed-dose combinations. The new test protocols are concerned about injectable antibiotics for new-born sepsis and TB (cefazolin, ceftriaxone, amikacin, capreomycin and streptomycin). The new method inventory also includes modified released granules for para-amino salicylate (PAS) sodium and metformin tablets combined or not combined with glibenclamide thus closing the gap on essential antidiabetics. For more information please see:
Minilab Training in Myanmar
At the beginning of December a training workshop on antimalarial drug quality monitoring for 35 participants took place in Nay Pji Taw, the capital of Myanmar. So far, more than twenty GPHF-Minilabs have been supplied to Myanmar already. For more information on the workshop please see this Link.
Worldwide campaign against counterfeit drugs
Ten global health organization, among them the Global Fund, the World Heart Federation and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA), presented the campaign “Fight the Fakes” in Geneva today. The campaign will raise awareness about the danger of fake medicines by giving a voice to those who have been personally impacted and sharing the stories of those working to put a stop to this threat to public health.
Multi-country operation against fake medicine supply points in Southern Africa
At the beginning of October, a wave of raids and inspections of marketplaces, pharmacies, clinics and other drug outlets in around 30 cities and border points took place in Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia seizing 100 tonnes of illicit medicines worth about 3.5 million USD including counterfeit versions of antibiotic, antimalarial, birth-control and analgesic medicines. All actions from over 900 officers across all five countries and a diverse range of departments have been coordinated by Interpol’s Medical Product Counterfeiting and Pharmaceutical Crime unit in Lyon (France) and its regional office in Harare (Zimbabwe). In addition, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria joint Operation Giboia by sharing its expertise in capacity building and identifying and investigating the diversion of medicines.
Even Solomon Island affected by counterfeit drugs
A case of counterfeit antimalarial medicines in the Solomon Islands last month brought back the fact that no region and country stays immune regarding the global trade in fake and low quality medicines. Islands in the Pacific forming small nations are particularly vulnerable as they are missing the resources to form strong medicines regulatory agencies or even to run fully-fledged medicines control laboratories to verify the quality of incoming drugs having travelled across the miles and been exposed to heat, humidity, diversion or other pharmaceutical crimes during transport and storage. A pilot study performed in neighbouring Papua New Guinea in 2011 indicated that the quality of medicines in this region may be sometimes far from perfect. For Papua New Guinea, the situation has improved since the World Health Organization acquired and established four Minilabs of the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF).
DIFÄM extends Minilab drug quality verification project to Malawi
As an extension to the ongoing drug quality surveillance project initiated by the German Institute for Medical Mission (DIFÄM) in Africa, the Nkhoma Synod Health Department of the Central Africa Presbyterian Church is now included in the network. The Nkhoma Hospital obtained a Minilab donated by DIFÄM just recently and an appropriate introductory training was performed late August this year. The Nkhoma Synod Health Department covers the central area of Malawi and comprises the Nkhoma Hospital, a 220-bed health facility, 10 health centres and the Nkhoma College of Nursing.
GPHF again donates three Minilabs
The board of the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) has now decided to donate three additional minilabs for the identification of counterfeit drugs. Two laboratory units will be delivered to the health authorities of the Sudan, another unit to the Public Health Laboratory Ivo de Carneri in Zanzibar/Tanzania.
Intensified training course for Minilab users from Angola
In July, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) held a one-week intensified training course on his Minilab specifically designed for five members of staff from the general health inspectorate in Angola, Southwest Africa. All participants stayed in Darmstadt (Germany) and were trained by Dr. Richard Jähnke (GPHF) at Merck in the use of the Minilab field kit far beyond the existing test protocols designed for the identification of counterfeit drugs where the contents are different, much higher or lower than indicated. The training included the testing of medicines sampled in Angola before the trip to Germany. Among them a range of apparently illegal und substandard quality products. Presentations and discussions on the dangerous trade in falsified medicines in Africa and elsewhere completed the programme. Next to the training, 12 Minilabs have been donated by Merck Portugal and the GPHF in the recent months.
Massive seizure of illicit medicines in Africa
The World Customs Organization and the Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines seized together with national customs administrations 550 million doses of illegal medicines within 10 days at 23 African sea ports. The potentially dangerous if not deadly medicines included antibiotics, painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidiabetics and cardiavascular medicines. The total market value of the medicines seized is about 275 million US Dollars. These results indicate the extent of the traffic of illicit and falsified medicines in Africa and the danger this poses to the health of people across the African continent. Operation BIYELA follows Operation VICE GRIP staged in 16 African ports last year summer already.
Operation Pangea VI targets online sale of illicit, potentially fake and harmful medicines
A crackdown of illegal online sales of prescription medicines was coordinated by Interpol and carried out by some 100 countries for one week across the globe in June this year. Operation Pangea VI screened 522,000 patient packs and resulted in 58 arrests, the closure of 9610 illegal websites and the seizure of 9.9 million doses of unlicensed and counterfeit medicines worth approximately USD 41 million. The operation targeted three main elements misused in the illegal website trade: the internet infrastructure, the electronic payment system and the mail delivery service. For more information on pharmaceutical crime go to www.interpol.int/Crime-areas/Pharmaceutical-crime.
Minilab Workshop in Mozambique
From June 17 – 21, 2013, the Global Pharma Health Fund (GPHF) performed a Minilab training in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Led by Dr. Richard Jähnke from the GPHF, nine pharmacists were trained in the use of the mobile test laboratory to detect counterfeit drugs. The workshop was called a major success and was organized in close cooperation with national health authorities and appropriate military departments of the Southeast African State.