August 6, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The regional government of Southern Sudan is combating the sale of counterfeit and expired pharmaceuticals across the region.
A megaphone atop a double cabin land cruiser roamed Luonyaker main market on Friday warning customers that some unscrupulous persons have flooded most of the rural towns with fake medicines purportedly to cure all diseases.
In Southern Sudan, even those selling fake drugs are vulnerable to counterfeiting. Wol Kon Laau, head of Yiik Adoor Primary Health Care Unit in Gogrial East County, Warrap State, said the common use of counterfeit or sub-standard pharmaceuticals means many patients wait too long to seek proper medical attention.
"As a practitioner I have had examples to give. I encountered most of them when I was practicing as a medical student that certain drugs were brought in into the system even in the normal delivery system which were of low quality and it even becomes worse with the drug peddlers who are going about villages killing people," he added.
A salesman without medical background says his Capsule cures high blood pressure, arthritis, kidney disease, premature menopause, cardiovascular disease, and infertility, saying it might be correct but this requires prescription from medical practitioners not by assumption.
"Fake and counterfeited products usually involve products that are either high volume or high cost. So you look mostly at anti-Malarial currently the Artemisinine combination therapy. In addition to that there are products for erectile dysfunction and because these are often sold at pubs and places where people try to get them without prescription they go for high value, they go for high cost," he explained.
Earlier, Laau while revealing formation of village health committees to help in the combat of the sale of counterfeit drugs in all markets in Gogrial East County said the campaign would be extended to other counties of the state and possibly to other states if approved by the state ministry of health.
The committee has already started holding meetings with business people. They are selling dangers involve in selling faked or expiry drugs to people. They are doing it market by market and will extend it to villages.
"With me in the committee we go on the market. We sample products, and we publish the results so that we can name and shame. We hope that within 18 months Southern Sudan in general and Warrap state in particular should be able to have very decent data on the extent of the quality problem in the area," said Laau.
He says that this will give health officials a better sense of the scale of the problem and allow for the eventual prosecution of those purposely endangering public health.