Counterfeit drugs worth Ksh 5 million were destroyed at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri). The drugs comprising of a batch of fake Panadol® Extra were intercepted two months ago by GlaxoSmithkline (GSK) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.
Apparently the drugs comprising of 339,000 tablets were imported disguised as the original Panadol Extra brand, which is manufactured locally by GSK.
The head of inspectorate at the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Dr Wilfred Oguta said that following an alert on the importation of the consignment they managed to intercept the drugs before they entered the distribution chanels. After analysis, the drugs were found not contain the correct active ingredients.
The trader of the fake drugs was apprehended and fined Ksh 5,000, which is the maximum penalty imposed for dealing with counterfeit drugs under the pharmacy and poisons Act.
Importation and trade in counterfeit drugs has reached an alarming level in Kenya, putting the lives of many at risk because such drugs are not effective against illness they are supposed to cure. Importation of such drugs is mainly done under the guise of “parallel importation” – a term that is loosely used in Kenya to mean importation of the cheapest drugs available from any part of the world. In as far as an the imported drug is cheaper than that sold by multi nationals, it is generally defended as parallel importation.