Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) together with local health authorities in the country are doing every effort to combat drug counterfeiting through electronic programmes and smart applications, the 4th International Conference on Falsified and Substandard Medical Products held in Dubai heard today.
The two-day event, which will conclude tomorrow, is discussing ways to pool national and international efforts to combat counterfeit medicines as well as ways of enhancing public awareness of the health risks and serious effects of using falsified medicines.
Dr Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary of Health Regulation Sector, and president of the conference, said: “According to official statistics by the World Health Organisation, one per cent of the medicines available in developed countries are fake, while the percentage goes up to reach 10 per cent in some African and East Asian countries and to 33 per cent in some developing countries. In addition, 50 per cent of the medicines sold online are bogus.” He said, “The UAE is one of the best countries in fighting against counterfeit medicines in coordination and cooperation with relevant international organisations, especially WHO, UN, World Customs Organisation and US Food and Drug Administration,”.
More than 10 Gulf, regional and international organisations are taking part in the event,
Al Amiri emphasised that the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) together with local health authorities uses the latest technologies to easily distinguish between authentic drugs and bogus ones within a few minutes.
“The UAE health authorities are constantly coordinating with the Federal Customs Authority and local customs departments to boost drug counterfeiting efforts and enhance the UAE’s global reputation as one of the best countries in using and registering innovative and similar medicines while supporting the import and re-export programmes of innovative drugs,” Al Amiri added.
“In light of these outstanding efforts, several international pharmaceutical companies have chosen to base their global and regional headquarters in the UAE, where the total number of scientific offices has reached 91. In addition, they launch their logistical services from the UAE, through which 41 countries in the world are supported with medicines and medical supplies,” he noted.
Al Amiri stressed that the UAE’s distinction in combating fake medicines is not only protecting its people from possible health risks and complications but also prot stressed that the UAE’s distinction in combating fake medicines is not only protecting its people from possible health risks and complications but also protecting other countries that are ge ecting other countries that are getting supplied with medicines through the UAE.
Speaking about the UAE measures taken to combat bogus medicines, Al Amiri said: “Every year, the Ministry of Health issues hundreds of circulars and warnings about falsified medicines, which are monitored by the Supreme Pharmacovigilance committee, chaired by the Ministry together with all competent health authorities nationwide. The ministry is directly linked to the WHO’s Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC) and is constantly monitoring websites that market medicines. The UAE is doing its best to shoulder its responsibility and play its full role in combating falsified drugs”.