CWAG AAP in collaboration with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board organised a three day workshop dubbed ‘Combating Counterfeit Drugs’ from the 6th to 8th February, 2019, Radisson Blu, Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop was aimed at sharing knowledge, experiences, with the objectives of developing and strengthening the human and institutional capacity required to combat transnational crimes.
Delegates drawn from the Pharmacy and Poison Board, , Anti-Counterfeiting Agency, Kenya Revenue Authority, Ministry of Health, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Interpol, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Anti-Doping Agency,, Department of Immigration among others converged and benefited from the vibrant exchange of ideas.
Mr. Markus Green, ESQ – CWAG AAP, Board Member gave a plenary address on CWAG AAP and Transnational Crimes. He noted with concern that Counterfeiting is a life and death issue. He stated that there are over 100, 000 deaths related to counterfeit drugs and that these crimes prey on the least fortunate.
“We are lucky to live in a global village where, all of us are connected. Let’s stand up for the voiceless and we can only do so by immense collaborations to combat these life threatening crimes.”
Dr. Fred Sioi – Chief Executive Officer, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Kenya, in his keynote address thanked the various agencies for attending the workshop. In his speech, he noted that there was need to explore supply chains to ensure quality products and that this cannot be done singlehandedly.
“One of the Big 4 agenda for Kenya is universal health coverage and as a National Inspection Authority, we are keen on increasing our capacity in surveillance and inspection. To achieve highest standards of efficacy, we have attempted to put in place appropriate mechanisms such as GPS mapping of registered premises, working in collaboration with the regional administration and international Organizations such as Interpol and WHO.”
Pierre Souverain, Pfizer, Director Global Security, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) –CWAG facilitator spoke on the Global Perspective on the growth of Counterfeit Drugs. He noted that Counterfeiters are often former industry players who introduce the drugs in illegitimate supply chain.
“Despite the ingredients not being poisonous, patients are at risk of suffering from non-treatment because counterfeit drugs appear the same as authentic as the shiny ones are often believed to be the real ones.”
During his session on Pillars to build a national plan of action. Mr. Pierre noted that safe legitimate supply chain, efficient counterfeiting legislation, enforcement of National capacity, taking the good practices from other countries, Judicial authority and awareness will help eradicate this menace.
Mr. Patrick Holt, Pfizer, Director Regional Projects, Europe, Middle East and Africa – CWAG facilitator spoke on Challenges to Patient Safety, Interne trade in Medicine. He said that Counterfeiting is a global issue as they can almost be purchased through social media.
“About 2 million people a day buy drugs using ESCRO account which equates to 10 million dollars. The Dark web is the eBay for bad guys and ESCRO is the mid-point between drug dealers and the market. Firearms, controlled drugs, bulk genuine products are also on the dark web.”
During his session on Detection, Investigation and importance of cross agency collaboration, he emphasized that the huge challenge is to differentiate between authentic and fake, and urged the delegates to look at the bigger picture besides the obvious typographical errors in the drugs.
Mr. Holt also took the delegates through the process of identifying Suspicious product and people as well as conducting raids during his session on the investigation process.
Joshua Plekwa– Deputy Head, Drug Crime Investigations and Enforcement Unit, Pharmacy and Poisons Board took the delegates through Pharmaceutical Crime in Kenyan Scenario and noted that the Board was established under the Pharmacy and Poisons Act- Cap 244 of the Laws of Kenya, with the mandate to make better provision for the practice and profession of pharmacy and the trade in pharmaceutical products.
He said Pharmaceutical crimes encompasses the counterfeiting and falsification of medical products, their packaging and associated documentation, as well as theft, fraud, illicit diversion, smuggling, trafficking, the illegal trade of medical products and the money laundering associated with it.
Lindsay Kipkemoi – Manager in charge of Enforcement, Anti Counterfeit Authority spoke on the overview of Counterfeiting in Kenya. He said the Agency implements the Anti Counterfeiting Act 2010 through intelligence led inspections, seizures, prosecution and subsequent destruction of counterfeit goods.
“It is important to note that we need more training of border points and ports to avoid political interference. The officers do not often recognize the real from the counterfeit therefore, the need of such trainings for border points and airports to detect these things”
Winnie Lelei – National Police Service, DCI- Interpol, National Central Bureau (NCB) facilitated on the overview of Counterfeiting in Kenya, Interpol Perspective. She stated that Interpol covers Trafficking of Human Beings, Fugitive, Financial and Hi-tech crime, Anti-Corruption, Drugs Organized Crime, Public Safety & Terrorism.
She said Interpol promotes partnership between law Enforcement agencies and the private sectors in the fight against illicit trade, counterfeit goods with the sole aim of riding the region off the growing menace.