CWAG AAP in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice – Republic of Rwanda (MINJUST) jointly organized a two day workshop on Effective Strategies for Countering Counterfeit Drugs and Substance Abuse on the 16th-17th November in Kigali, Rwanda. The workshop brought together over 80 participants from various law enforcement and other stakeholders agencies responsible for combating counterfeit drugs and substance abuse in Rwanda.
The workshop aimed to work with anti counterfeit drugs and substance abuse actors in Rwanda, to handle emerging issues in the investigation and prosecution of counterfeit drug related cases.
Providence Umurungi, Head of International Justice and Judicial Cooperation (IJJC) Department, during her opening remarks welcomed participants to the workshop and recognized the CWAG AAP officials present. She commended them for their commitment to working with the Ministry of Justice and availing seminars on transnational crimes. “As the government, we strive to build capacity of stakeholders in the sector of the administration of justice. Increased exchange of knowledge and best practices with experts across jurisdictions will strengthen further the ongoing efforts of the Rwandan anti-counterfeit actors.“
Mr. Markus Green ESQ, Board Member, CWAG AAP in his opening remarks, thanked and welcomed the participants and wished them an enlightening workshop. “Rwanda has made exceptional progress in dealing with this growing menace with its holistic approach involving multiple stakeholders.” He commended.
Mr. Pierre Souverain, Director, Global Security department – Pfizer, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region session focused on the cross border challenges presented by counterfeit drugs and culminated in an interactive case study on techniques to detect counterfeit drugs as well as prosecute pharmaceutical counterfeiting cases.
Mohammed Daghar, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) facilitated an informative session that focused on the extent of the counterfeit drug problem in Africa. He shared insights from an upcoming ENACT policy brief on the scale of the counterfeit drugs in Africa. The brief found that 42% of detected cases of substandard or falsified pharmaceuticals occurred in Africa, and that the continent has become an “easy target” for counterfeiters owing to corruption and a weak legal regime. The ISS’s Enhancing Africa’s Response to Transnational Organized Crime (ENACT) programme, launched in 2017, aims to mitigate the impact of transnational organized crime.
Ms Obianuju Otudor- Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors during her session Ms Obianuju Otudor, Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, spoke on the Scale of the Counterfeit Drug Challenge & Substance Abuse. “No person or organization or country can adequately fight the fight against counterfeit drugs and drug abuse we must all join the fight!” She said.
Dr. Charles Karangwa, Director General, Rwanda Foods and Drug Authority shed light on the controls adopted by Rwanda and other East African countries to regulate medicines in the region.
Mr. Patrick Holt, Global Security Department Pfizer facilitated an eye opening session on illicit trade in pharmaceuticals on the dark web using cryptocurrencies. He shared on how criminals take advantage of weak technical and technological capacity by authorities to trade in illicit medicines online.
Mr. Charles Goredema, Director of Informed Solutions to Economic Crime in Africa (ISECA) shared on detection, investigation and prosecution of counterfeit drug trafficking. He highlighted corruption and fluid sophisticated criminal networks as a major challenge in countering counterfeit drugs in Africa.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Providence Umurungi implored the various agencies present to collaborate so as to eliminate the developing menace of counterfeits in Rwanda.