Johnson and Johnson ready to tackle counterfeiting
As pharmaceutical companies around the globe remain major targets for counterfeiters, Johnson and Johnson, upon entering the Ghanaian market, is set to institute measures to combat the menace.
“We will keep our supply chain pretty tight, and we are also looking at various mechanisms to put on our packs so that you can check if something is counterfeit or not. So, all of that is being explored at the moment,” Jane Griffiths, the company’s Group Chair for Europe, Middle East and Africa has said.
More than 120,000 people a year die in Africa as a result of fake anti-malarial drugs alone, says the World Health Organization, either because the drugs were substandard or simply contained no active ingredients at all.
Data also show that about a third of all anti-malarial drugs in sub-Saharan Africa are fake, and these fake medicines usually find their way into pharmacies, clinics and street vendor stalls, or sold online via unregulated websites.
In Ghana, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) regularly embarks on public awareness programmes to encourage consumers and patients to report expired products and suspected counterfeit drugs to the Authority.
There have also been monitoring exercises to take on dealers of counterfeited drugs to ensure that consumers or the patients are served with wholesome products and with the right prescribed dosages.
Speaking to journalists in Accra, Ms Griffiths said: “We are doing that not only here but also in my region, which includes Western Europe, because counterfeiting is an issue everywhere to a certain extent.”
Ms. Griffiths further advised the public to be wary of buying medicines from unapproved sellers or via the internet.
“One of the challenges is also buying pharmaceutical products on the internet; you never know whether it is counterfeit. So, it is important that people actually use the pharmacies on the ground, reputable pharmacies and stay within the prescribed distribution chain,” she urged.
Johnson and Johnson’s entry into the country is aimed at delivering integrated approach to improving the health of the people through the distribution of the company’s drugs and other medical devices.
The group’s work in Ghana would also include multidisciplinary teams focusing on some major health issues in the country like mental health, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, and bringing on board innovative products to tackle the issues.