Substandard, falsified medicines continue to flood Guyanese market

– prevention, detection and response crucial to dealing with this issue – GA-FDD

Substandard drugs and other medicines not registered by authorities in Guyana continue to be sold to the populace and the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), despite progress made in curbing this trend, will be upping the ante to deal with this situation.

Director of the Government Analyst-Food and Drug Department (GA-FDD), Marlon Cole

Prevention, detection and response are key steps to dealing with substandard and falsified medicines, and a recent study done globally has revealed that one in every 10 drugs released in the market, is a substandard drug.
Director of the GA-FDD, Marlon Cole on Tuesday stated that the prevalence of substandard medicines being sold continues to be a thorn in the side for relevant authorities.
“Globally, there is a study out and it was mentioned that 10 per cent of medications that are being released are substandard. If you have a market of almost 300 billion persons in both low and middle-income countries, if 10 per cent of the medication is substandard, then about 30 billion annually from low and middle-income countries now have to fork out of their pockets directly because of substandard medication and sometimes this is not extrapolated into the deaths that is caused.”
He explained that recently, drug samples were sent to the Medicine Quality Control Surveillance Department, a drug testing laboratory in the Caribbean that was relaunched and accredited by the Jamaica Accreditation Board this year, to ensure safe reliable medicines as part of preserving a healthy Caribbean.
“And the results of the analysis from drugs that we would have submitted that we procured in our national health care delivery system which are there in our public health care delivery system, the results are not encouraging…10 out of several other results of analysis there is that phrase – does not meet the standard. So, these are drugs that we would have taken off our local market and submitted to the drug-testing lab in Jamaica and these are the results, not from our lab, this is from the lab in the region.”
Cole reminded that the first line of defence against this issue is the proper and careful registration of drugs and that this is one of the main focuses of his Department for this year.
The GA-FDD Director opined that falsified and substandard drugs are a burden to the healthcare delivery system and this is why it is imperative that healthcare agencies be more vigilant and detect them.
A few months ago, Cole had noted that the best method in handling situations with such type of medications would be to develop systems that can detect when medicinal drugs are either falsified or substandard.
He had pointed out that there is a global surveillance monitoring system which allows users to access information in real-time.
“We can enter and send information if we discover a substandard item in Guyana…We can load it and the entire globe will know the specific name of the medication, who is the trader and which factory it came from,” said the GA-FDD Director had earlier told the media.
This system was launched in 2013 and by 2017, some four years later, had received 2000 reports of substandard drugs worldwide.
It should be noted that the reporting was not limited to any specific drug, but predominance was among “lifestyle medications” such as those persons would use for weight loss.
Cole added that Guyana has also signed on to the Caribbean Drug Registration Systems (CDRS) that determines which drugs are sold in Canada, the United States of America, Australia and the United Kingdom (UK).