Rabat – Counterfeit medicines and expired pharmacy drugs, some illegally manufactured, are being sold without authorization or prescriptions. The issue has now prompted the Ministry of Health to boost public awareness about the effects and dangers of buying fake medications. Moroccan newspaper Al Akhbar reported in its weekend issue that 15,000 poisonings are recorded every year due to unauthorized medicines.
According to the newspaper, the Moroccan Network for the Defense of the Right to Health raised concern and awareness about counterfeit and illegally manufactured medicines and their effects in a recent report featured at the second national meeting of medicines and health products. The meeting is being held under the theme “The fight against falsified medicines in Africa.”
The February 24-25 meeting is taking place in Skhirat, a seaside town located between Rabat and Casablanca.
The network has raised concerns over the medicines being sold in the absence of control of the National Drug Administration, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Health.
According to the Moroccan network, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established three categories of falsified or illegally manufactured medicines: the medicines that contain the correct chemical formula but at a lower dose than labeled, expired medicines and counterfeits that may contain toxic or deadly substances.
The same source added that falsified medicines account for 1 percent of products in developed countries, 60 percent of medicines in the poorest countries and between 20 to 30 percent in developing countries.
According to WHO, falsified medicines account for 11 percent of all medicines sold in developing countries, noting that these medications kill more than one million people across the world.
The Network for the Defense of the Right to Health, according to Al Akhbar, added that Morocco is facing a serious issue involving smuggled medications, especially in the eastern region, southern provinces and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.