Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Fake drugs flood Misungwi district

From The Guardian/IPPMedia, Dar es Salaam
By Edwin Agola

Mwanza’s Misungwi District, in Lake Victoria Basin, is home to many poor farmers who barely manage to grow enough food crops, mainly rice, to live on. Their top government official charged with fighting malaria is Dr Mathias Abuya.

His job includes attending to as many as 10,000 malaria cases a year. His duty is made more challenging by ruthless, increasingly sophisticated drug cartel of counterfeits.

Standing in his small and cluttered laboratory in the provincial hospital, also called Bugando, he holds up a small plastic bag containing two identical blister packs of Artemether Lumefantrine (ALU) coartem, an anti-malarial drug popularly known in Kiswahili as 'dawa mseto,' manufactured by Norvatis Pharmaceuticals of USA, being sold in pharmacies, with altered expiry dates.

The problem according Abuya is threatening hundreds of thousands of people. Worse still it is due to cold, calculated greed. Tanzania is awash in counterfeit medications, none more insidious than those for malaria, a deadly infectious disease that is usually curable if treated early with appropriate drugs.

Read full story.

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