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T O P I C    R E V I E W
toubab1020 Posted - 08 Aug 2019 : 18:42:32
There has to be rules in regards to the quality and content of medication on sale,it appears to me that without regulation in this field "medicines" on sale could contain anything and be totally ineffective and sold by uncrupulous people just to make MONEY from peoples suffering.
When such people are discovered they must be prosecuted and in addition to any custodial sentence passed by the Courts their assets should be siezed and the money from a public auction should go to the Tresury.

However those Pharmacies selling a legitimate product should NOT BE FORCED TO PAY any EXTRA TAX.


Thursday, August 08, 2019

Essa Marenah, the principal regulatory officer of the Medical Control Agency (MCA), has confirmed that 75% of medicines and other related products that are circulating in the market are not registered with the MCA, warning that there could be fake medicines in our market.

“Medicines that are not registered with the agency could be counterfeit medicine. Nobody can dispute that. In fact, that is why we are emphasising on the need for people to register their products,” he told our reporter.

The Medical Control Agency is the regulatory body mandated to regulate all matters relating to efficacy, quality and safety of medicines and related products in the country.

Recently, our reporter visited Stop Step Westfield Pharmacy, Banjul Pharmacy, Kairaba Pharmacy and City pharmacy all within the Kanifing Municipality with a view to finding out whether the products they are bringing meet the requirements of MCA.

Mr. Marenah said the importance of registration is to enable the agency look at the quality, safety and efficacy of the products, adding that medicines that are not registered pose threat to our health.

“Most of the products that are sold in the pharmacies are not registered. Notwithstanding, if you want to apply the law on the dealers, it’s like no one will bring a product in The Gambia. So long the products are not registered; the agency can’t tell you anything about the products.”

MCA, he said, can only speak for the products that are registered with the agency. “We’re trying to push all these importers to ensure that they register. But let me tell you that you try to push these importers; they are reporting you to ministers, senior government officials among others.”

He said: “The products that are in the market and are registered with the agency are less than 1%. So if you are talking about the law, then even the product that the government is bringing for public hospitals and private sector will stop coming. If you want to apply the law; meaning that there will be no medicine in The Gambian market,” he said.

Marenah added: “At the moment, we don’t do any testing. What we’re doing is that people that are bringing products in The Gambia must be registered in the country of manufacture and certificate of analysis from that country that was submitted to the regulatory of that particular country.”

Anis Chouman, the managing director of Kairaba Pharmacy admitted that two to three of their products that they are selling don’t contain some of the details particularly the manufacturer’s details.

“Yes it is part of the requirements of MCA that any product coming in the country should contain the manufacturer’s details. Maybe it is an oversight from us. However, it doesn’t mean that it is a counterfeit medicine or bad products,” he said.

“The MCA alerted us on this, and I can tell you that we’re making some improvement on that. All the new consignment that we order, we will make sure that it contains all the details per the requirement of MCA.”

He added: “It is an oversight and we’re adapting to the new one. Besides, each product that we import into the country comes with certificate of analysis. We order our medicines from different companies and I can tell you that the medicines that we order are fit for consumption even in the country of origin.”

“All medicines and other products coming in the country whether imported by the government or the private sector should first be registered with the MCA and they should have the market authorisation certificate,” a health expert told our reporter on the condition of anonymity.

“If a medicine is registered by the MCA and doesn’t have the manufacturer’s details, it should not be allowed to be in the market because consumers buying the medicine need to know the manufacturers of the medicines.”

The most unfortunate part, he went on, is that there is no functioning quality control lab in the country, adding that it’s one of the critical issues the country is grappling with.

“So if this product is not registered, they should not be in the market. Preferably, any products brought in the country should be accompanied with batch certificate so that the consumers can confirm whether the company is a legal entity or not.”
Author: Momodou Jawo
2   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
toubab1020 Posted - 11 Aug 2019 : 13:53:27

I wonder if this report by Madi M.K. Ceesay published on THE 3RD OF AUGUST 2019
has had the effect of waking up the MRC and giving them a big PROD or did some other government that has its ear to the ground gave the MRC a "reminder" to get activated and publish something, which they did on THE 7TH OF AUGUST 2019 .
Madi M.K. Ceesay August 3, 2018

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says there is an urgent need to develop Africa’s pharmaceutical sector to reduce the continent’s dependence on imported pharmaceutical and medical products.

According to Soteri Gatera, ECA’s Chief of Industrialization and Infrastructure, Africa bears a disproportionate burden of disease with, for example, more than 70 percent of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases and 90 percent of deaths due to malaria raising the need to encourage local production of drugs.

“Non-communicable diseases are also becoming increasingly prominent across the continent, given the demographic changes that are taking place,” Gatera told participants in a meeting jointly organized by the ECA, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Non-communicable diseases are predicted to overtake infectious diseases as the leading cause of death in Africa by 2030.

The situation is worsened by the continent’s significant challenges in accessing high-quality pharmaceuticals, exacerbating a continued high burden of disease.

The availability of essential drugs in the public sector across the continent has been reported to be less than 60 percent. The major factor being that Africa is hugely dependent on imported pharmaceutical and medical products.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs used on the continent are imported from outside the continent with 70 percent of the pharmaceutical and medical products market being served by foreign imports.

“An international standard, commercially viable pharmaceutical industry in Africa can contribute to improved access to effective, safe and affordable essential medicines and economic development,” said Mr. Soteri.

From the health perspective, he added, a key potential benefit is to develop a source of quality assured medicines across products, including those for the pandemic diseases (HIV, TB and malaria) as well as the broader range of essential medicines.

He said through proximity of production, resource-constrained regulators can properly oversee the manufacturing of products produced in the region compared to the level of scrutiny that is possible for distant suppliers.

The immense need for drugs presents a potential market opportunity for pharmaceutical companies on the continent. For example, he said, the current number of persons on ARV treatment in Africa represents a market opportunity of over US$ 1 billion.

This market will more than treble over the next decade as more people are placed on ARV treatment and other uses of ARVs are expanded.

The total pharmaceutical spending for the continent in 2012 was estimated at US$ 18 billion and it is projected to reach US$ 45 billion by 2020.
Non-communicable diseases are also becoming increasingly prominent across the continent, given the demographic changes that are taking place.

In addition to providing a secure source of medicines and a potentially-large market, local production of pharmaceuticals also advance industrial development; move the continent towards sustainability of the health sector response; reduce external dependency; facilitate stronger regulatory oversight to curtail counterfeit products; enable production of drugs for diseases that primarily affect Africa; improve the trade balance; create jobs; and could serve as a catalyst to developing a broader manufacturing and knowledge-based economy.

Mr. Soteri also enunciated a number of measures taken by the AUC and its partners to promote the manufacture of medicines in Africa in line with the accelerated industrialization initiative for the continent’s socio-economic transformation.
“The untapped opportunities lend themselves to a wide array of partnerships for the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrial development. The partnerships would create higher-skilled jobs, build equitable societies and safeguard the environment, while sustaining economic growth,” he said.

The workshop sought to validate an ECA report, titled; “Review of Policies and Strategies for the Pharmaceutical Production Sector in Africa: Policy coherence, best practices and future prospective”, in which policies and strategies for the pharmaceutical sector in Africa are reviewed with a view to assessing the level of policy coherence, capturing best practices and painting future prospects for the sector.

The report provides an overview of the status of pharmaceutical production in Africa and identifies levels and quality of production.
It is hoped, the final knowledge product will influence African governments to take appropriate actions that will transform the sector from being a coffer-drainer to a substantive contributor to Africa’s GDP, Mr. Soteri added.
toubab1020 Posted - 10 Aug 2019 : 12:16:24
Friday, August 09, 2019

Inhabitants in the Kanifing Municipality have blamed the Medical Control Agency (MCA), the regulatory body mandated to regulate all matters relating to efficacy, quality and safety of medicines and related products in the country over possible ‘counterfeit drugs’ in the market.

“I am so disappointed with the MCA over lack of control over possible counterfeit drugs that could be in the market. If the body responsible of products that are coming into the country are saying that 75% of the products in the market are not registered, this means the agency is not doing its job properly,” says Lamin Jaiteh a concerned person in an interview yesterday.

He therefore urged the authorities to do something about it.

Recall: Essa Marenah, the principal regulatory officer of the MCA told The Point on Monday during an interview that 75% of medicines and other related products that are circulating in the market are not registered with the MCA, warning that there could be fake medicines in our market.

“Most of the products that are sold in the pharmacies are not registered. Notwithstanding, if you want to apply the law on the dealers, it’s like no one will bring a product in The Gambia. So long the products are not registered; the agency can’t tell you anything about the products.”

Jaiteh queried: “What is the reason of the MCA in the country? If certain pharmacies in the country that are importing medicines in the country are admitting that they are selling two to three products in their pharmacies that didn’t go with the requirements with the MCA.”

He said no nation can develop in the absence of good health. “The fundamental objectives of MCA are to ensure that those pharmacies that don’t meet the requirements of the agency and are selling products should be closed.”

“I was so disappointed when I read the paper and realised that there could be counterfeit drugs in the market. If this is true, then I believe MCA should be scrapped,” he told The Point.

Isatou Tamba, another concerned citizen also expressed her total ‘disappointment’ at the regulatory body. “As a consumer, I fear even going to the pharmacies more especially those that admitted selling some products that do not meet the requirements of the agency. The media should play an important role in this aspect in trying to sensitise the public on the health implications about counterfeit drugs.”

Alaa El Mohajer, managing director of City Pharmacy, who was contacted by our reporter for comments over possible counterfeit drugs in the market said: “Our number one priority is the health of citizenry. I can assure you that we are following all the rules and requirements of the regulatory body in the country.”

“We were told some months back by our customers about some products that were in the market and didn’t contain manufacturer’s details and the source of the drugs. We informed MCA about the development. We were hoping that action would be taken immediately,” he told The Point.

He added: “We have informed our customers that we don’t sell any product that does not contain the source of the medicine and the manufacture’s details for the fact that it is the right of the patients to know the source of that medicine.”

Our reporter has attempted on several occasions to speak to the managing director of Stop Step Westfield pharmacy and the managing director of Banjul Pharmacy but to no avail.
Author: Momodou Jawo

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