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Reducing the Trade in Illicit Medicines

This Newsletter has previously covered the World Health Organisation’s concerns about the sale of unregistered medicines. Every year there is a scandal where dangerous medical preparations lead to deaths, particularly of children. Illicit medicines are an extraordinarily lucrative industry, on both sides of the law, pharmaceuticals has taken West Africa’s criminal underworld by storm. Illicit medical product sales are now estimated to have eclipsed $1bn, which is more than the value of the region’s crude oil and cocaine trafficking markets combined. The problem is not isolated within Africa alone; the WTO estimates that 10% of all medical products sold in low and middle income countries either do not meet medical standards or are entirely falsified. Nearly half of the reported counterfeits, however, have been traced back to Africa, where a lack of proper infrastructure, production facilities, and transportation access has resulted in criminal enterprises seizing more than 40% of the market. Quality checks (see above) are slowly being introduced with the support of the AfCFTA to bring more order and quality to the marketplace.

Meanwhile, Disrupt Africa has released the second episode of its 3-part podcast series. Its latest focus is on e-health in Africa, looking at the startups that are making waves in the space, what they have achieved so far, and what opportunities and challenges they face going forward. The series looks at how innovation in e-health is so pivotal on the continent and discusses initiatives and funders that are backing the development of Africa’s health-tech ecosystem. For more see  DISRUPT AFRICA

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Alastair Tempest

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