Since the Cotonou Declaration of October 12, 2009, what do you see as the milestones in your efforts for advocacy and awareness against trafficking in falsified medicines?
The Cotonou Declaration, which was a manifestation of the willingness of political leaders to act against the scourge of falsified medicines, has benefitted from more interest and enthusiasm than expected from NGOs, health professionals, and competent organizations at all levels of government.
This momentum has enabled us to garner the support of many heads of state and government who have since signed the Declaration and to highlight the issue more prominently during major international meetings. La Francophonie proved its willingness in October 2010 by adopting a resolution at the Summit of Montreux. The Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) also displayed their endorsement in their relations with the European Union. The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has also taken on the fight against the traffic of falsified medicines. And today, the entire French diplomatic network is mobilized.
This combination of governmental and non-governmental entities, international organizations, and pharmaceutical industries, allows Ouagadougou to bring together a broad coalition to develop an action plan tailor made for West Africa against falsified medicines.
The Ouagadougou roundtable, to be held from September 27 to 29, 2011, will be the first regional meeting of technical and financial partners as well as donors and sponsors on the issue of falsified medicines in Africa. In your opinion, why are they participating?
The role of the Fondation Chirac is, I believe, to facilitate and spur governance in developing countries. We are maintaining our role as a private foundation and are faithful to Jacques Chirac’s efforts. He has accomplished much throughout his life in support of increased and more efficient public aid for development, especially for healthcare.
Several international, regional, or non-governmental organizations work on issues of quality medicines and the traffic of health products that could endanger patient health, either by rectifying weaknesses in customs regulations, or by calling for an increase in police and technical control of drug quality.
All of the organizations involved in this process are also involved in complementary efforts. They are the prime technical partners for the administrations of developing countries in their efforts to secure the chain of drug distribution.
In Ouagadougou, these partners, alongside major donors, will meet at the behest notably of the French Embassy, the WHO, ECOWAS, UEMOA, and the Fondation Chirac. Their meeting will be a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive and coherent action plan for a sub-region. This is a new approach to a complex issue, and thus embodies a hope of success!