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Congo trains stakeholders to tackle fake drug menace

Republic of the Congo

Along the main streets of Brazzaville, or at the total market, several street drug stalls have been erected at the mercy of dust, bad weather and sunlight.

This vendor, who sells street drugs is defending the practice.

“First of all, they’re almost the same medicines. For me as a salesman, I can say that it cures like any other drug sold in a pharmacy or elsewhere. But, the preservation is what borders us because seeing these drugs exposed to the sun is a bit absurd”; Hermann Stephane Mabiala told our Congolese correspondent, Laudes Martial.

To keep my life, my health, I prefer to buy them in pharmacies.

Despite the obvious risks, consumers say these products are cheaper than those available in the pharmacies.

“I prefer to buy on the street because they are expensive in the pharmacies. When they give you a prescription, you go into the pharmacy to ask for prices. But the money we often have at our disposal allows us to buy only on the street. Forgive us for buying on the street”, Riva Massa said.

But not everyone falls for this. Others are well aware of the dangerous practice.

“I like to go to the drugstore because the products on the street don’t work too well. Everything is exposed to the sun. I don’t really like to take this. It’s not good to sell the drugs on the street. In pharmacies they are rather well preserved. To keep my life, my health, I prefer to buy them in pharmacies”, fake drugs patron, Dany Massamba said.

At a recently held training program for health sector workers in Brazzaville, experts recommended the population to purchase drugs from certified pharmacists.

Dr. Edrène Mampouyath is an official with the Congolese health ministry.

“When you think about that, you realize that you can’t really fight fake drugs if the ‘‘pharmaco-vigilance’‘ system is not well executed. Because it’s through ‘‘pharmaco-vigilance’‘ that you can strengthen the fight against fake drugs”, Mampouyath said.

Street drugs are a real public health problem in Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 100,000 people die each year from fake drugs.

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