We have been aware of the present critical phase of the issue of counterfeiting among pharmaceutical medicines across the globe. As you may also have noticed, the information is mostly provided by non-profit organizations and international agencies which have been campaigning against this deadly illegal act. World Health Organization (WHO) even tagged this crime as silent terrorism as it can create an outbreak of highest mortality rate in just one blow just as what had happened in South Africa when an entire village was poisoned by a fraud anti-malarial medicine on a malaria epidemic.
When the news gained public attention, the blame was pointed to the loose security, corruption and bribery occurring within the government. In turn, the political powers prove their innocence by deploying authorities and procuring technologies which can identify the fraudulent copies of medicines being imported, distributed and exported in and out of the country. However, after the issue subsides and the public returned to their subtle reproach towards the government, the business of counterfeit medicines – this time, of different brand and substance – thrives once again.
Indonesia is no different despite the strict death penalty on anyone found guilty of smuggling and distributing illegal medicines within the archipelago. The country is known to have lucrative manufacturing business of counterfeit medicines in Jakarta, second to China which still holds the title of the most productive country for counterfeiting.
On the other hand, the United States boasts of their 1% counterfeiting rate when the rest of the world records 30% of the overall medicines as counterfeited. Still, as the Peterson Group, one of the NGOs providing information on counterfeit drugs, points out, this number is nothing to be proud of. As long as there is a number existing, the citizens are still not safe from the dangers of counterfeiting can bring.
The warnings of WHO and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are being disregarded with the issues of poverty and illiteracy. There may have hopes and solutions for these problems, yet, with the time dragging by and no active measures still being implemented, it may well be improbable that these are not meant to be solved.
There are only a few World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified quality control laboratories across the world. Drug buyers and suppliers should utilize these facilities. Laboratory testing assures quality and ensures the procurement and supply of safe and quality medicines.
However, these laboratories alone cannot meet the needs of the entire population.
The government and other non-state actors should invest in more testing equipment, especially in rural areas.
But without any possible feedback from them, we can’t help but ask, is the government doing anything against counterfeiting?