President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Pres. Sirleaf Calls For Strong Drug Regulation In ECOWAS Region
By Prince S. Nagbe
MONROVIA, April 11 (LINA) – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged ECOWAS Member States to strengthen their drug regulatory authorities and their powers to enforce drug laws and regulations to curb the counterfeiting of drugs in the region.
“All of our countries will need to do more; all of our countries will need to strengthen drug regulatory authorities and their powers to enforce drug laws and regulations,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
President Sirleaf made the call at the opening of the Delocalized Meeting of the Joint Committee on Health & Social Services and Trade, Customs and Free Movement of the ECOWAS Parliament held in Monrovia on Monday.
She said this can only be achieved through “strict regulatory processes, inter-regional surveillance and monitoring systems, information sharing among ECOWAS Member States, capacity building and regulatory strengthening at both national and regional levels as well as an effective oversight of the pharmaceutical industry by national and regional parliamentarians”.
She observed that counterfeiting and sales of medical and obsolete products affects every region of the world and represents a public health risk that harms patients and continues to undermine the efforts of governments in the region to provide better health services to their people.
“Counterfeiting, which was once considered a situation that affected developing countries largely, particularly low income countries like Liberia, has now become an issue for countries of the world, posing serious challenge to those who seek health systems that can ensure better health and welfare of their people,” she noted.
According to the Liberian leader, though counterfeiting and trafficking in all sorts of products is on the rise globally, no other bogus product has the capacity to harm or kill as compared to illicit pharmaceuticals which is a lucrative business.
“Projections indicate that profits from counterfeiting today surpass gains made from heroin and cocaine; globalization of the market in active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished medical products require effective international cooperation and coordination to ensure global access to safe quality and affordable medical products,” President Sirleaf added.