KAPI to commission study on unregulated medicines prevalence

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) in collaboration with the University of Nairobi is set to commission a nationwide market study to establish the prevalence of unregulated medicines in Kenya.

The research study is seeking to quantify the extent and degree of unregulated pharmaceutical products available in the Kenyan retail pharmaceutical market.

According to KAPI Chairperson Dr. Anastasia Nyalita, unregulated Pharmaceutical products include; illicit and counterfeit products not sourced through the established channels including unregulated imports.

The study results, Dr. Nyalita said, will provide a foundation for policy and enforcement interventions as the Association plans to share the study findings with the sector regulator, Kenya Revenue Authority, Ministry of Health, KAPI members, and related stakeholders once completed.

“This will help us to have credible data that can be analysed further to aid in decision making among stakeholders including the Commissioner of Customs at KRA,” Dr. Nyalita said, adding that, “At KAPI we plan to mainstream this study to be a regular exercise that can help policy makers design relevant interventions based on the trends map.”

The study comes hot on the heels of the recent market rollout of the KAPI Code of Practice, aimed at fostering ethical interactions between the local pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals.

The new KAPI Code of Practice also seeks to enhance ethical educational and promotional efforts that benefit patients and promotional programs and collaborations that enhance the practice of medicine.

Alongside the KAPI study, The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Institute for Research Against Counterfeit Medicines (IRACM) recently announced plans to intensify the fight against illicit and counterfeit drugs in Africa.

The plans by the WCO and IRACM are based on the results of their fourth common initiative in the fight against fake medicines on the African continent. The report established that the number of illicit and potentially dangerous pharmaceutical products seizures has now reached dramatic proportions, with almost 900 million counterfeit and illicit medicines seized at the borders of the Africa continent.

A communiqué  from the IRACM recently confirmed that plans are at an advanced stage to conduct a field surveillance exercise dubbed Operation ACIM (Action against Counterfeit and Illicit Medicines) following the success of a similar exercise last September.

Featuring 16 African customs administrations including Kenya, Operation ACIM simultaneously inspected cargo containers identified as likely to contain illicit or counterfeit pharmaceutical products posing a dangerous threat to local populations.

Some 113 million illicit and potentially dangerous medicines were seized during Operation ACIM, with a total estimated value of €52 million. Among the medicines uncovered by the African customs officials, were essential drugs such as antimalarial, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and analgesics, as well as gastro-intestinal medicines. Even if most of the seizures were of everyday medicines, anti-cancer drugs, with over 2 million doses discovered, are also included in this tragic record.