Local authorities reported today that the opioid pain medication came from Asia, and was destined for African countries.
An investigation has been opened to identify the network involved in this international trafficking, and samples of the tablets were sent to the Royal Military Police Forensic Science Institute for analysis.
In previous operations in 2017, the Royal Gendarmerie seized more than 40 million tablets and capsules of “Tramadol,” packaged in containers in the same port, also sent from Asia for distribution on the continent.
Illicit tramadol is extremely addictive, and can cause seizures and permanent damage, according to Tramadol’s own Abuse Help website.
Unauthorized prescription drugs cause 100,000 deaths a year in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
While WHO estimates that one out of 10 medicines in the world is unlicensed, figures in Africa may be as high as seven out of 10.
“To sell fake medicines, you need a clientele. The ailing poor are more numerous in Africa than anywhere in the world,” Marc Gentilini, an expert on infectious and tropical diseases, told Agence France Presse.
About 57 per cent of these drugs – which includes 125,868,567 individual units – arrived on the continent via seaports, said Action against Counterfeit and Illicit Medicines in its 2016 report.