Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa, has been ranked by the UN as a major counterfeit drug trafficking point.
Lying on the coast of the Indian Ocean, Mombasa is the easiest entry point for the drugs from other nations. The business daily wrote that most of the counterfeit drugs originate in India and China.
A study by the World Customs Organizations (WCO) and the International Institute for Research against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) cited the ports of Mombasa as one of the largest counterfeit drug trafficking point in Africa. Some of the drugs are antimalarial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antibiotics and analgesics and gastrointestinal.
WCO secretary general Kunio Mikuriya in the report released last month said that 113 million illicit and potentially dangerous medicines were seized in Africa with a total estimated value of six billion shillings. He added that the biggest interceptions were Nigeria, Benin, Kenya and Togo respectively. According to Mr. Kunio, all the potentially dangerous medicines both to the animal and human health have been revoked from the market.
The reports of the World Health Organization (WHO) show that annually, 700,000 people are killed globally by counterfeit drugs.
This being the fourth IRACM-WCO joint operation in the fight against counterfeit medicine on the African continent, the number of counterfeit drugs revoked in the four operations since 2012 has hit 900 million drugs worth 46.2 billion shillings.
Kamamia Murichu, the Chairman if the Kenya Pharmaceuticals Distributors Association (KPDA) denied the claims that importation of medicine has opened a new window for counterfeits. He said that its members adhere to the safety and quality standards.
Counterfeit drug trafficking in Kenya is punishable just like other serious crimes such as money laundering.