|On April 7, 2011, during World Health Day, Marc Gentilini, Aline Plançon, and Thierry Le Lay participated in a video-conference on “The International Risks and Global Issues of Falsified Medicines” organized in Alexandria by the Université Senghor de la Francophonie. The following is a summary of their talks.|
The first to speak was Professor Marc Gentilini, General Delegate of the Fondation Chirac for Access to Quality Medicines and Health Care. He presented the current state of the traffic in falsified medicines.
He restated the Fondation Chirac’s definition of falsified medicines:
“By ‘falsified medicines’, we mean drugs that do not contain the required amount of active ingredient, that are toxic, or contain ineffective ingredients. They are manufactured illegally, in defiance of manufacturing authorizations and quality regulations.“
This traffic, he continued, represents nearly 50 billion Euros, the equivalent of half of the world’s Official Development Assistance. These sub-standard drugs, not only increase the risk of drug resistance, but also kill hundreds of thousands of people each year because they either do not cure patients or through the toxic substances they contain.
After restating the factors that encourage the development of this global scourge, Professor Marc Gentilini listed the necessary defensive actions:
• strengthen regulatory frameworks and quality control,
• toughen enforcement against traffickers with more deterrent laws,
• educate the general public as well as health professionals,
• mobilize policy makers.
Next was Aline Plançon, head of Interpol’s “pharmaceutical crime” unit. She explained the various means available to the international community to fight against falsified medicines. With the World Health Organization, Interpol has developed the IMPACT group (2006). The worst aspect of this traffic, she said, is the impunity with which traffickers operate.
Thierry Le Lay, Special Envoy of the French Foreign Ministry on counterfeit medicines, concluded the conference by reminding the audience of the steps taken at the international level and the impediments encountered in decision making instances at the very highest levels.
|For more information:||The conference was organized with the support of:|
– the Université Senghor de la Francophonie – the Regional Centre of Alexandria for women’s health and development.
-The Global Digital Francophone University
– Francophonie’s university agency
– the French Institute