“Safety, Efficacy and Quality of Medicines” Important at WHO Conference

Singapore's Minister for Health, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan, emphasized the importance of improving the "safety, efficacy and quality of medicines worldwide" for the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) at the World Health Organization's 14th International Conference on November 30th. 

The International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities meets biannually to discuss disease demographics and patient access to effective medication said Mr. Wan speaking in the Stamford Ballroom of the Raffles City Convention Centre. 

"All over the world, disease demographics continue to change, and in drastic ways.  Infectious diseases remain a major problem…as a result healthcare systems everywhere are under tremendous stress,"  said Mr. Wan. 

As an example of the kind of drug counterfeiting problems addressing Singapore he detailed the case of 76 men admitted to hospitals for hypoglycemia of unknown origin two years ago, with twenty four cases involving coma, and ten unfortunate deaths.  Investigation found that these men had consumed an illegal product marketed for sexual enhancement, he said in the speech. 

Said Mr. Wan, "While we are doing our best to ensure public access to safe medicines, there are dishonest and unscrupulous syndicates aiming to profiteer from counterfeit and illegal health products.  They can be quite innovative in the way they produce counterfeits and penetrate the distribution channels.  All kinds of health products are targets of counterfeiting."

The conference ends December 3rd.  This year's conference marks its 30th anniversary.