With substandard medicines already in wide circulation, fears are growing that coronavirus could create a lethal ‘parallel crisis’. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in 10 medical products circulating in low- and middle-income countries are either substandard or fake, which is both dangerous and a waste of precious family money. Various academic studies have put the prevalence at between 11% and 48%. Of 1,500 reports of such products, most came from Africa (42%), with south-east Asia also a major hotspot for fake medications. It is impossible to know precisely how many such medicines are in the system. Delese Mimi Darko, chief executive of Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA), says this is an ongoing problem, especially as people smuggle drugs across the country’s borders. She too worries that Ghana, with more than 1,500 reported Covid-19 cases, will see an increase in falsified and substandard medicines due to the pandemic. Already the FDA has seized substandard hand-sanitisers.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN