Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Cambodian crackdown decimates illegal pharmacies

Securing Pharma
Phil Taylor

The Cambodian government has completed a major anti-counterfeiting operation which has led to the closure of around 65 per cent of the illegal pharmacies operating in the country, according to the US Pharmacopeia.

Five manufacturers have also been banned from supplying products in Cambodia, said the USP, which supported the operation via its work on the Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM) project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The crackdown, conducted over five months, targeted the illegal pharmacies because of evidence they were "among the primary sources of substandard and counterfeit medicines in the country," said the USP in a statement.

Between November 2009 and March 2010 the number of illegal pharmacies in operation was slashed from 1,081 to 379, according to data from the Cambodian Ministry of Health.

The operation is a major success for Cambodia's Inter-Ministerial Committee to Fight against Counterfeit & Substandard Medicines (IMC), which was set up in 2005 after a study showed that 16.2 per cent of malaria drugs sampled from retail pharmacy outlets in four Cambodian provinces were of poor quality.

Since then, there has been an alarming decline in therapeutic efficacy of recommended first-line antimalarials, e.g. artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) on the Cambodia-Thailand border which has been attributed to the prevalence of counterfeit and substandard antimalarial drugs, as well as general problems with healthcare provision.

The counterfeiters have also become increasingly sophisticated, carrying various types of fake holograms, and researchers headed by Paul Newton at the Centre for Tropical Medicine in Oxford, UK, have been engaged in chemical, mineralogical, biological, and packaging studies which indicate at least some the counterfeits were manufactured in the southeast region of China.

And the problem is also not confined to malaria drugs. More recently, a similar survey of antihelminthic medicines used to treat parasitic worm infections, published in the journal Tropical Medicine & International Health (May 2010), revealed that around 4 per cent of samples collected from private drug outlets were fake.

The emphasis of the PQM programme in the country is currently on antimalarials and antibiotics, according to the USP.

Meanwhile, through the IMC, Cambodia has also been running public awareness campaigns on television to warn of the dangers of counterfeits, focusing particularly on antimalarials, as well as alerts to warn healthcare professionals to be on the lookout.

Other partners in the latest operation included the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.


Powered by Blogger

 Home   |   About Us   |   Submit URL or Your Company Address First Launched: 08/15/95 - Copyright © 2010 Cambodian Information Center. All rights reserved.