With the Government Analyst Food & Drugs Department (GAFDD) facing ever increasing challenges in its quest to effectively monitor the entry of unauthorised foods and medicines into the country, local consumers could face more risks in the year ahead in its quest to fend off a fake medication industry estimated to be worth in excess of US$30 billion. While there have been no shortage of warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the size and potency of the fake drugs industry and the thousands of victims, including children that it claims every year, those warnings have limited effect in countries like Guyana where the end of 2018 finds the GAFDD still under-resourced and the country’s open borders inviting the further proliferation of illegal imports, not least, fake drugs.
Numerous public warnings from the GAFDD over the years and particularly in more recent times have elicited the same response. While the authorities are aware of the country’s vulnerability to fake drugs reaching patients here, a lack of adequate deterrent capacity continues to be its Achilles Heel. And even if there was a more effective deterrent force the GAFDD concedes that apart from the vulnerabilities associated with entry of imports into the country through the state-controlled system, there is no reason to disbelieve that a significant portion of fake drug imports arrives here through back channels. More than that, where there is a high demand for life saving and/or health restoring medicines, consumers preoccupied with the urgency associated with finding remedies are often less mindful of investigating the bona fides of the drugs that reach them.
It is not a Guyana problem alone. Repeated warnings about the size and potency of the fake drugs industry coming from the World Health Organization (WHO) have not done a great deal to slow the global growth of the fake drugs trade, an indication that even highly credible warnings are not having the desired effect…..