Ministry of Health Raise Awareness Against Counterfeit Medicines at Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East 2012

Pharma IQ News

Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East 2012 opened on 26 February at the Amwaj Rotana in Dubai and will run until 28 February. The event is witnessing the Ministry of Health hosting awareness initiatives on counterfeit products.

Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park (DuBiotech) has pledged support to the outreach efforts of the Ministry of Health during the event as part of its responsibility to contribute to the development of the UAE's medical landscape.

The World Health Organization's International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) estimates that fake pharmaceuticals make up one per cent of drug sales in developed countries and approximately 30% in some countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licensing at the Ministry of Health, said, "It is essential to prohibit the use of fake medicines. However, it is not just fake medicines that pose a threat to public health but also forged medical devices and food supplements. The committee is mandated to monitor the import and export of medicines, medical devices and food supplements."

Marwan Abdulaziz, Director of Business Development at DuBiotech, said, "The pharmaceuticals industry has expanded its operations in the region, which requires monitoring and strong regulations from federal health authorities to prevent the import and export of counterfeit medicines. Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East is an ideal platform for the global industry to address issues such as fake medicines. At DuBiotech, we prioritise patient safety. As part of this goal, we pledge to assist Ministry of Health in their drive against counterfeits."

"Furthermore, the Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East 2012 offers a window to present our services and facilities to local and international companies. It will also allow global players to gauge the country's regulations and laws in the pharmaceutical sector. We hope that such events will encourage more global majors to establish their production base in the UAE."

The Middle East's pharmaceutical market is valued at more than $12bn and expected to grow at 10-15% annually. The UAE is considered to be the second-largest consumer of pharmaceutical products in the Gulf, after Saudi Arabia, with the market valued at around US$640 million. The UAE is heavily dependent on imported pharmaceutical products with domestic production accounting for just eight per cent of the total market for medical and pharmaceutical supplies.

Doaa Said, Divisional Director of Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East, said: "In the UAE, health officials are working to develop strategies to prevent counterfeit drugs. They have established a National Committee that works against counterfeit drugs in addition to increasing the number of inspectors at entry points. We understand the important role that the Ministry of Health and Dubai Customs play in preventing counterfeit medicine. It is crucial for these bodies to engage with pharmaceutical companies. Towards this direction, we have invited Dr. Amin Al Amiri to address the Pharmaceutical Logistics Middle East Summit. We look forward to engaging stakeholders to ensure patient safety."

The appearance of counterfeit medicines in international commerce was first mentioned as à problem at the WHO Conference of Experts on Rational Drug Use in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. Since then, public awareness of the problem of counterfeit drugs has grown. Both government authorities and pharmaceutical companies have been concerned with efforts aimed at preventing the problem, and WHO has received reports related to counterfeit drugs from some of its member states on à voluntary basis. According to this information, the problem is known to involve both developed and developing countries.

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