West Africa is enduring a substantial uptick in clandestine and illegal drug trades and sales.
The secretive labs that produce the counterfeit drugs are sporadically located in Africa and Asia. Street dealers are prowling the streets carrying blister packs jammed with illegal drugs.
Policing of the transactions are made expressly difficult given Africa’s size: The continent is over 2.5 million square miles with a population of 325.5 million.
It has been estimated that over 100,000 children have died from the use of counterfeit drugs.
West Africa is a challenging area to traverse, thereby affecting deliveries of approved drugs: The limited number of pharmacists (.09 to 10,000 people) has resulted in the use of self-medication.
Drug gangs and radical groups such as Boko Haram have invested themselves in substantial profits.
It is rare to have a conversation in Nigeria about falsified medicine without a mention of the My Pikin syrup tragedy.
“In 2009, 84 children were killed by a teething syrup batch that contained diethylene glycol, an industrial solvent, and ingredient found in antifreeze and brake fluid. Two employees from the company which made the syrup were found guilty by a court.” It is rare to have a conversation in Nigeria about the problem of falsified medicine without a mention of the My Pikin syrup tragedy,” BBC News reported.
More than 30 million counterfeit tablets shipped from India were seized in one week in Lagos.
When hospital pharmacies go out of stock, patients will purchase drugs elsewhere, often from unregulated markets. And they do not need to go far, outside her hospital window.
Street sellers peddling drugs is a familiar scene across West Africa – where in many countries the sale of pharmaceuticals is more a trade than a profession, the BBC notes.
The problem is on cue to go on uninterrupted for the unseeable future.