UAE – The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has issued a warning against the online marketing of medicinal products, stressing that 90 per cent of the drugs promoted online are counterfeit and life threatening, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Policy and Licensing Sector at MOHAP, noted that the WHO considers drug fraud as an organized crime that kills hundreds of thousands of patients annually.
H.E. Al Amiri emphasized that most of the counterfeit drugs sold online and smuggled into countries are medicines used to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Fraudsters capitalize on the increasing demand for such products and the high prices of original medication. He further stated that medical fraud is an increasing issue, and can be attributed to the ease of manufacturing and producing counterfeit medicines, the high returns, and the lack of community awareness. He also noted that the issue of counterfeit medication is increasing due to the easy access people have to these drugs online.
The Assistant Undersecretary explained that the fake drugs contain dangerous substances that can cause serious and potentially fatal health complications, adding that counterfeit medication can lead to a loss in confidence in health care providers and systems. H.E. Al Amiri noted that the online marketing of medicine is becoming a major threat to the health of society, and that this is becoming a major challenge for the international community, especially when counterfeit medication is promoted via social media networks. He highlighted the practical steps being taken by MOHAP to combat this issue, including the Ministry’s organization of the Second Emirates International Conference on Combating Drug Counterfeiting which will be participated in by several ministries, international organizations and institutions concerned with the counteraction of counterfeit medication.
His Excellency said that the conference will be held from May 1 to 2, 2017 and will be attended by Servier officials Per Perez, General Manager, and Dr. Magdi Abdo, Regional Director of Regulatory Affairs, in addition to over 1,000 doctors, pharmacists, and international experts in counterfeit drugs.
H.E. Al Amiri stated that many international organizations will be participating in the conference, including the US food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the European Drug Authority, the United Nations (UN), the Belgian Drug Authority, the US Government Drug Enforcement Office, the Swedish Drug Authority and Society for the Protection of Property Rights, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the General Administration of Drugs at the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Economy. He concluded by noting that MOHAP is monitoring the websites responsible for the promotion of counterfeit medication, stating that the UAE has become an international leader in combating drug fraud.