Monday, 14 July 2008

Tanzania to conduct study on impact of Counterfeit goods

According to The East African newspaper, the Tanzania Food & Drugs Authority(TFDA) will soon conduct a study to establish the manufacturers of counterfeit medicines in that country. The study is to be carried out to verify reports that in in 2005/2006, the market for counterfeits in Tanzania raked in the equivalent of US$100 million!

The TFDA has a 5 year strategic plan to fight both locally manufactured as well as imported counterfeit medicines. Some of the medicines that are widely counterfeited include ampicilin capsules(250mg) and chloroquine injections.

On the same subject, The Tanzanian Standard has reported that over 60% of imported goods are counterfeits. At a recent workshop held by the Tanzania confederation of Industry(TCI) to discuss ways of dealing with the scourge of counterfeits, participants were informed that 60% of medicines on the market are fake. They noted the tremendous efforts being made by public institutions such as the Drug Regulatory Authorities(DRAs), the Fair Competition Commission(FCC) and the Fair Competition Tribunal in impounding and destroying counterfeits.

However, challenges still facing these institutions include weak legislation and need for better inter institutional collaboration to enhance effectiveness as well as following the statutory mandate of respective agencies. Such agencies stand to benefit alot from financial and technical assistance if the recent strong resolutions of the G8 states on counterfeits are anything to go by. The usual issues are what mechanisms exist for accessing such technical support and whether in the long run, stringent border measures can sufficiently dampen the high demand for cheap /dangerous products.

The end result is that if the majority of the population in East African countries are used to cheap counterfeits, they will never buy genuine products at a higher price, much less those manufactured locally. This situation needs to be addressed as matter of urgency at the highest level possible by the East African Community(EAC) Secretariat.

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