TB Epidemic Raises Awareness of Fake Medicine in Tanzania

Awareness of the problem of counterfeit drugs is on the rise in East Africa, according to Tanzania’s The Citizen.

Starting in 2008, Interpol and the World Health Organization have collaborated on the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force (IMPACT), a series of anti-counterfeiting raids in Tanzania and Uganda.

The news source reports that approximately 20 percent of medications in Tanzania are counterfeit, a figure that lies close to the average for the region.

The source also highlights how the unpredictable contents of counterfeit drugs may lead to disease organisms developing resistances to standard medications.

The problem in Tanzania is particularly linked to the spread of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Tanzania ranks fifteenth on a list of the 22 countries with the highest tuberculosis burdens.

According to the source, basic treatment costs for this strain of tuberculosis and other diseases are higher than average daily wages. Consequently, the high prevalence of counterfeit medications may result in East African consumers spending what little money they have on treatments that may contain either dangerous or ineffective levels of drugs.