The Managing Director of the Liberia Medicines Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA), David Sumo, has disclosed that the Liberian market is flooded with faked, expired and counterfeit drugs, thus posing serious risks to public health.
Mr. Sumo told reporters on Monday at a news conference at the Ministry of Information on Ebola that results of laboratory tests conducted by the agency on various drugs imported into the country, proved that most drugs sold on the Liberian market were either faked, expired or counterfeited.
He said such drugs, which only serve to exacerbate patients’ medical conditions, were being imported into the country by unscrupulous businesspeople and aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
He said some charity organizations were taking advantage of the country’s fragile health system to import near-expired drugs under the guise of making humanitarian donation. But in actuality, he said such unscrupulous charities were simply looking for place to dump their medical wastes, noting that disposing of such expired products in the developed world is quite an expensive venture.
LMHRA boss said some anti - malaria drugs and pain killers sold on the local market were also either faked or expired. He added that some of these drugs were merely just powder compressed and packaged in capsules and sold as medicines.
He said drugs paddlers were taking advantage of most people inability and ignorance to detect genuine medicines from fake drugs.
Mr. Sumo said the LMHRA in collaboration with other agencies and national security has confiscated some of these expired products and incinerated them.
The though-talking LMHRA boss also raised alarm over the quality of some frozen foods, particularly pork, beef and chicken products imported and sold on the local market.
He said most of these products overstayed on high sea before arriving in the country when preservatives contain in them begin to decompose, thus making it unfit for human consumption.
He also stressed the need to monitor the quality control standards for mineral water factories operating in the country. He said his agency has observed that some of the firms were operating below recommended standards and health safety regulations.
He said the prevalence of typhoid, water borne disease, in the country was an indication that something was wrong with the quality of potable and available food and drug on the local market.