Cote d’Ivoire seizes tonnes of fake medicines as global counterfeit pharmacetucals market grows
Underscoring the extent of the problem in the Ivory Coast and sub-Saharan Africa in general, almost 400 tons of counterfeit medicine were seized in a two year span. In Africa, up to 7 out of 10 medicines are estimated to be fake according to the WHO, with the number shrinking to 1 in 10 worldwide. Counterfeit medicines are responsible for an estimated 100,000 deaths annually in Africa alone, and the sector is worth roughly 10% of the formal pharmaceutical sector, which is still enough to be a market worth tens of billions of dollars. The illicit medicines themselves are, at best, inactive or weak versions of proper medicines and, at worse, toxic. In Africa, many governments do not screen imported medicines or have effectively-implemented programs to monitor medicine quality, and counterfeiters are able to move their products from factories, mostly in India and China, to the streets or small pharmaceutical vendors, where a significant portion of medicines are purchased, especially by the poor.