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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Deal firmly with fake drug dealers

27th February 2012
Editorial Cartoon

A lot of effort and resources have gone into fighting malaria which is the leading killer disease in the country.

To name just a few, the country has distributed insecticide-treated bed nets to every family throughout the country, counseling them through a media campaign to use them to fend off mosquito bites which could lead to malaria.

In Dar es Salaam, they are spraying swampy areas that are known to host mosquito larvae to cut back the mosquito population.

There are also house spraying campaigns in some parts of the country.

Medical experts have also been working on a vaccine against malaria for under-fives, who are the most vulnerable victims of the scourge in Africa.

The funding for these praiseworthy efforts has come from people and institutions of goodwill around the world, who sincerely want to help Africa rid itself of this debilitating disease.

Yet sadly there are people around the world in greedy pursuit of profit, have been making and dumping on world market, fake drugs for malaria treatment.

The Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority on Friday issued a warning to the public against the use of a fake malaria drug, selling under the name Eloquine (Quinine Sulphate 300mg USP) in some pharmacies and drugstores in the country.

The authority said it had seized 155 tins of the fake drugs in Dar es Salaam which were yet to be distributed, while another lot was impounded in Moshi and that a suspect had appeared in court.

The Director General Hiiti Sillo said the tablets are packed 1000 per tin. A tin was selling at between 50,000/- and 60,000/-.

He said the label on the tin indicated that the drug is made by Elys Chemical Industries Ltd of Kenya, on checking, with the firm, they established that it does not manufacture the drug with the trade name ‘Eloquine’.

The company has registered in the country a drug by the name of Quinine Sulphate 300mg B.P with no trade name,” said the Sillo.

There is more. According to TFDA laboratory investigations have established that the drugs lacked active ingredients of Quinine Sulphate for malaria treatment and therefore its use posed a risk to the human health.

Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation has previously observed that almost a third of anti-malaria drugs sold in Tanzania were substandard.

This means that at least three out of ten people prescribed to use anti-malarials in the country will be taking inferior medicines.

This has serious implications for the fight against malaria in the country. It defeats the multi-pronged fight unleashed against malaria.

Besides the fact that it contributes to making malaria resistant to the existing treatments, deaths are bound to rise for lack of appropriate treatment.

It is our expectation that TFDA will leave no stone unturned to nab the culprits and ensure that their network is destroyed before it does more harm to the good work being done against malaria.

The public must cooperate fully, knowing that success in exposing such rings is for the common good.

Under no circumstances should we allow malaria which is on the retreat to recover a dominant position.

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