Ivorian authorities have burnt 50 tonnes of counterfeit medicines, estimated at more than a million euros.
Fake paracetamol, antibiotics, vitamins, and drugs to improve sexual performance were dumped and burnt in a graveyard at Abobo, a popular district of Abidjan.
Many of the products had packaging written entirely or partially in Chinese.
The drugs were seized during several outings and a clandestine workshop for the manufacturing of the drugs was equally discovered.
“We proceeded to arrest three Chinese nationals , they were on the site and probably the ones who were engaged in the illicit fabrication,” Bogo Williams, representative of the state prosecutor said.According to the International Institute of Research on counterfeit medicines the fake drugs represent “probably” 10% of Ivory Coast pharmacy turnover estimated at $85 billion.
One out of every three packaged used in Africa is illegal or is counterfeit, making it one of the worst in the world.
International Institute of Research on Counterfeit medicines in Ivory Coast deplores that the trade in fake medicines remains largely unpunished in the world or is being considered as a simple offense of violation of intellectual property, although it is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths a year.
“I have to say that these drugs represent death. They cannot be used for healing but can instead seriously harm the health of the population,” Oumar Aristide Toe, official of the ministry of health said.
India is the first of origin of illicit pharmaceutical products – which can be genuine drugs being smuggled or outdated drugs.
The World Customs Organisation says the counterfeit drugs are mostly manufactured in China.