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WHO Announces New Measures to Fight Fake Drugs


The World Health Organisation and the International Pharmaceutical Federation have published a new curriculum guide aimed at strengthening efforts to prevent substandard and fake medicines and medical products from getting to patients.

The curriculum guide, the two organisations said, is to support pharmacy educators and ensure they can stop the distribution and use of substandard and falsified medicines around the world.

According to a press statement jointly signed by the two organisations and made available on Wednesday, all stakeholders in healthcare must continue to fight against the problem of substandard and falsified medicines.

In 2017, the WHO estimated that one in 10 medicines in low- and middle-income countries were substandard and falsified, causing harm to people and reducing the quality of patient care.

“Healthcare professionals are key in detecting and reporting poor quality or fake medical products that have penetrated supply chains, as well as educating and advising patients who have been exposed to them.

“However, they (Healthcare professionals) cite a variety of barriers to reporting, including a lack of awareness and overcomplicated reporting systems.

“A solution proposed by the WHO was the production of a modular educational curriculum to improve reporting and interventions and FIP is honoured to have taken on the challenge to develop this for future pharmacists,” Mr. Dominique Jordan, FIP president, said in the press statement.

Mr. Jordan added: “This resource is designed to increase and improve both education and awareness levels of pharmacists on substandard and falsified medical products. We believe that it will be of use not only for our existing collaborators but also for more countries in the African region and beyond.”

Ms. Pernette Bourdillon-Esteve, team lead, Incidents and Substandard/Falsified Medical Products at WHO also said, “The unique position of pharmacists as guardians of the supply chain’s integrity allow them to safeguard the quality and safety of medical products before distribution and their vigilance is indispensable.

“However, too few pharmacists receive formal training on this issue during or after education. This project addresses the training gap in teaching institutions and advances the essential role of pharmacists.

“Substandard and falsified medical products are a constant, pervasive and unacceptable public health threat. The WHO’s holistic strategy of prevention, detection and response to Substandard and falsified medical products requires full inclusion of pharmacists.”

The curriculum guide, the statement said, is a tool for education on substandard and falsified medical products. It can be adapted to the needs of individual training institutions and it contains a competency framework and practical tips and is supplemented with modules that align with the WHO prevention-detection-response strategy.

It was designed to help pharmacists know how to identify medicines at high-risk of being substandard and falsified and prevent such products from reaching the supply chain and, if they have, detect them and report them to appropriate regulatory authorities to prevent patient harm.

The curriculum guide, the press statement stated further was developed with the support of the European Commission, and in collaboration with the International Conference of French-Speaking Chambers of Pharmacists, the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association and five universities in sub-Saharan Africa, a region that is particularly vulnerable to these products.



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