Fake medicine conferences kick off

Published: 07 December 2010

Four prominent speakers debated the risks and effects of fake medicine at the opening ceremony of a series of seminars entitled "The Fight Against Fake Medicine".

The importance of the issue, which is prominent on international agenda, was reflected in the serious questions raised by those present.

Louis Michel, chair of the EU/ACP parliament, described fake medicine as an "unacceptable threat for public health" and quoted figures suggesting that up to 30% medicine is counterfeit. 

Michel stated that the counterfeit medicine industry is worth 75 billion dollars, and the issue is becoming worse, with a 90% increase over the past five years.

Thomas Beni Yayi, President of Benin said: "Man can only work for development in his country if he has his health."

"Medicines are precious in preventing disease, and they are also very precious in curing disease. Everything must be done to ensure their quality ."

In his country 85% of medicine is estimated to be bought on the black market. 

Dr Mo Ibrahim targeted the lack of media coverage of the issues. "Fake drugs are not sexy", he said. "But whilst 65000 people are estimated to have been killed by terrorism, 200,000 have died in China- just from fake medicine."

Dr Ibrahim also suggested that "this is worse than drugs. At least they know what they are buying."