Abu Dhabi: The UAE has become a transit point for counterfeit medicines as customs figures show that more than 30 per cent of goods seized are fake drugs, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

But the organisation said that the percentage of fake drugs smuggled into the UAE is less than one per cent.

According to the European Commission data released at the Counterfeit Conference here, there is a wide range of fake material passing through the UAE, including bags and sunglasses, computer hardware, sportswear; cigarettes; electrical equipment and perfumes and cosmetics.


The WHO said last month the UAE blocked an attempt to smuggle 1,600kg of fake Viagra. A month earlier Dubai authorities foiled a plot to peddle half a million counterfeit anti-blood clotting pills.

A shipment of 600,000 pills of counterfeit anti-bodies known as Amoxil were found in a cargo shipment sent from Dubai to Belgium; the batch numbers on the Amoxil boxes were incorrect, the blisters were different, the invoice was fake.

"These statistics show that the UAE, like the rest of the world, has an apparent problem. One single counterfeit case should not be accepted and a task force must take immediate action to eradicate these numbers," said Dr Amor Toumi, Technical Officer, World Health Organisation.

Dr Abd Al Karim Smine, Team Leader Drug Regulation, Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), believes that legal provisions and regulations in the UAE are vital to avoid fake and substandard drugs.

"The fake drugs result in diminished trust in health care systems; waste of financial resources; risk in the health of patients; prolonged illness, increased drug resistance and death," he said.

"I have witnessed the death of more than 300 people in Panama due to mislabelled glycerin. The numbers in the UAE and all over the world are increasing not decreasing," said Smine.