Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Ivorians increasingly choose fake medicines on price

The differential between the relatively high price of genuine pharma products and counterfeits is driving many people to purchase the latter in Ivory Coast, despite the risks associated with this practice. According to one purchaser at Abidjan’s Adjame market:
"I can buy the same medicines at the market by the individual tablet not the packet, and pay just 150 CFA francs (US$0.35) per pill For 500 CFA francs (US$1.19) I can get enough medicine to last me three days".
Dr Ambroise Kouadio, a doctor in Abidjan, is quoted as saying that, even though the risks of using counterfeit medicines are fairly well understood, the number of people who are turning to them is increasing:
"The rate of use of health centres remains relatively low, while the consumption of street medicines is increasing".
A formal survey of conducted for the World Bank in 1998 concluded that 20 percent of Ivorians used counterfeit medicines. Health experts now estimate that the proportion might have risen to between 30 and 50 percent, or even higher. In late May the health ministry announced it was going to reduce the price of legitimate medicines, but the preferred long-term scheme is a state medical inurance system [source: IRIN News].

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