In 2009, President Blaise Compaoré, along with Presidents Jacques Chirac and Thomas Boni Yayi, initiated the Cotonou Declaration. Today, he is gathering together in Burkina Faso those involved in battling falsified medicines in order to identify how to act on the commitments they made two years ago.
In a speech read by Adama Traoré, his Minister of Health, Blaise Compaoré protests against “crime organized around the traffic of falsified medicines (which) increasingly undermines the State of law, good governance, environmental protection, and human rights.” Falsified medicines are a real,developmental issue according to the Fondation Chirac. This analysis is shared by Blaise Compaore for whom “the proliferation of counterfeit medical products (…) in Africa is an obstacle to the bettering of the population’s health.”The African continent has indeed become a trafficking hub.
Nearly 130 people are participating in this regional meeting. They are technical and financial partners, representatives of regional and African agencies and institutions, as well as delegates of the region’s States. They have all come at the invitation of the organizers: WAEMU, ECOWAS, the WHO, the Ministry of French Foreign Affairs, and the Fondation Chirac. According to an RFI report published on Claire Hédon’s blog, “We have here all those involved in the fight against falsified medicines. Burkina Faso’s Minister of Health. Members of Senegal and Ghana’s Ministries of Health. Representatives of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Professor Gentilini of the Fondation Chirac. Also present are representatives of WHO, the president of the Union Confederation of African pharmacists, and many laboratories. And since this is a vast, international traffic, there is a representative of Interpol, the international police organization, and the WCO World Customs Organization… In short, there are a lot of people here.” This report well summarizes the challenges of this struggle and the obstacles that need to be overcome.
In addition to findings such as the one offered by a minister of Burkina Faso who said that “in Burkina alone, falsified medicines account for up to 12% of the pharmaceutical market,” this Round Table aims to help consolidate the ECOWAS regional action plan and encourage officials and international technical agencies to take action. Henri de Raincourt, French Minister of Cooperation, confirmed France’s position by stating that Paris is campaigning the WHO for the recognition of the term “falsified medicines” as well as for better access for Africans to “low cost” drugs.
All the debates held during these three days will be compiled in a report that should form the working base to create a platform for West African partners and strengthen ECOWAS’ action plan against falsified medicines, by suggesting notably a schedule of actions to be implemented.