Fiji Time: 1:05 PM on Friday 31 July

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Fake drugs alarm

Torika Tokalau
Monday, June 09, 2014

FIJI should be on high alert for counterfeit goods, which includes pharmaceutical drugs.

Jeremy Douglas, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime regional representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said Fiji should be on alert for counterfeit goods, which was as much an issue as drug trafficking in the region.

In an exclusive interview with The Fiji Times, Mr Douglas said organised crime groups targeted vulnerable countries and regions that had markets that could be tapped into for selling drugs.

Countries with lower capacity and weak regulations were also vulnerable, and the counterfeit practice even went all the way to medicines, he said.

"For example, on the pharmaceutical side, if fake pharmaceuticals are a big issue, how are the governments in the Pacific able to check if something's fake or not? Do they even have that capacity? So they (organised crime groups) might be dumping fake products which can be dangerous fake products," he said.

Mr Douglas said counterfeit goods and smuggling were other kinds of transnational crimes on the rise as seen in other parts of the world.

He said the danger with counterfeit goods, especially counterfeit medicines, were the unsafe ingredients used.

"For example, counterfeit medicines which can be quite dangerous, are also worth a lot of money to organised crimes," he said.

"People who go into pharmacies may not know they are buying fake pharmaceuticals, even the pharmacists may not know they are selling fake pharmaceuticals because they are very well faked with good packaging but the ingredients may not be safe."

Fiji Medical Association (FMA) president Dr James Fong said while he couldn't verify if counterfeit medicines had crossed Fiji's borders, Fiji was indeed vulnerable to counterfeit medicines and this concern had been raised several times by FMA members in past forums.

"I, as FMA president, am a member of the Medicines and Products Board which is a unit within the Fiji Pharmaceutical and Bio-medical Service," Dr Fong said.

"This unit has the role of monitoring medicines in the country to deal with the issue of counterfeit drugs. We also have strong regulations that ensure medicinal drugs can only be sold by certified pharmacies.

"However whilst we may have these basic structure, I believe a lot more work is needed to improve our capacity to ensure transparency in the quality of medicines received in the country."

Health Ministry's media officer Sunil Chandra yesterday said they had drafted a response but it was yet to be approved by the permanent secretary for Health.

The ministry was yet to respond when this edition went to press last night.





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.61530.5963
JPY 59.284856.2848
GBP 0.30290.2949
EUR 0.43260.4206
NZD 0.72270.6897
AUD 0.65180.6268
USD 0.47520.4582

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 31st July 2015

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Teary farewell for trio
  2. Accident at mill
  3. No say over lease
  4. $16.7m park upgrade
  5. Goodwill payment for landowners
  6. Fiji Pearls want top eight finish
  7. 'Empower girls'
  8. Education important
  9. Investor-friendly policies
  10. Road helps seal friendship

Top Stories this Week

  1. Deaths haunt 15-year-old Monday (27 Jul)
  2. Nakasi rape suspect in court Sunday (26 Jul)
  3. Dad dies, kids worry Tuesday (28 Jul)
  4. Three dead Sunday (26 Jul)
  5. Distraught mum recalls promise Tuesday (28 Jul)
  6. Flying Fijians spoil Samoan celebrations Monday (27 Jul)
  7. Truck sinks into town road Monday (27 Jul)
  8. Sex trafficking source Thursday (30 Jul)
  9. Final goodbye Wednesday (29 Jul)
  10. Unrealistic airfares Monday (27 Jul)