As concerns continue to mount about the ongoing Cholera crisis, and with Ebola spreading in West Africa, fears are rising that managing these diseases will become more difficult because of the presence of fake and counterfeit medicines, which the WHO says make up 25% of all medicines in West Africa.
At an event in Accra, on Thursday the August 21, 2014, to launch an initiative called PREVENT – Patients’ Research, Empowerment, Vigilance & Education through New Technologies – Professor Alex Dodoo, Global Advisor of mPedigree, said that if the antibiotics and other medicines used to manage complications from diseases such as Ebola and Malaria turned out to be fake, the impact on the country will be catastrophic.
Pharmacist Ohemeng Kyei, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana (PSGH), the initiators of the PREVENT initiative www.preventfaking.com, said that the professional association has decided to introduce the initiative to prevent the entry and circulation of fake medicines in Ghana.
In the first place, as once a fake medicine enters the supply chain the harm has already been done, Pharmacist Ohemeng Kyei cautioned.
PSGH has therefore adopted the mPedigree Goldkeys platform www.goldkeys.net and introduced a social media platform from PopOut, an Accra creative agency.
Through the Goldkeys platform, consumers and regulators, like the FDA, can detect if a pack of medicine is fake in seconds by sending a unique 12-digit number under a scratch-off layer to shortcode 1393 on all major mobile networks in Ghana. The text message is free to the consumer and the response will contain the important details about the medicine. The PopOut social media platform is integrated into Twitter www.twitter.com/preventfaking and Facebook and will allow Ghanaians to report suspicious medicines, share their experiences and obtain professional support.
Pharmacist Ohemeng Kyei said, that member companies of the PSGH have already implemented the platform to code important medicines such as Lonart, Koffex, Lafagen, and Durol. A few of the participating companies are LaGray, Tobinco, Dannex, KAMA, Starwin and Danadams.
In speeches by the Chief Executive of the FDA and the Minister of Health, the officials highlighted the strong support that PREVENT enjoys at all levels of the pharmaceutical sector and pledged Government’s commitment to see to the success of the initiative.
Pharmacist Amponsah Effah, President of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana, said that the pharmaceutical industry in Ghana were united behind the innovative mPedigree platform and will do everything to protect Ghanaian patients, who are also their cherished customers.
PREVENT was then officially launched by the Minister of Health at the College of Surgeons and Physicians.
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