COVID-19 : Authorities raise concerns over the quality of Chloroquine

Authorities of the Public Health Ministry have expressed worries over the quality of Chloroquine sold in pharmacies in Cameroon.

Chloroquine is among the key drugs used for the treatment of COVID-19 in Cameroon, and other countries battling the deadly disease.

The drug, associated with antibiotics, so far accounts for close to 350 COVID-19 recoveries reported by Public Health authorities.

But the increased demand for the drug has witnessed an illicit importation in huge quantities by unauthorized suppliers .

Scapegoats sanctioned

Public Health Minister, Dr. Manaouda Malachie recently sanctioned 4 pharmacies reportedly involved in  the sale of Chloroquine of doubtful quality.

This is  the second time the public is informed about the presence of this illicit drug sold in pharmacies.

On April 2, Mme Abondo Ngono Mballa’s Rose ,  Director General of the  National Drug Control and Valuation Laboratory, LANACOME issued a press release, informing the public that this fake chloroquine was  sold in pharmacies.

As authorities seek to redress the situation, experts say unauthorized importation of  such drugs is at the heart of the problem, not pharmacies.

What is wrong with the supply chain?

Experts in the pharmaceutical sector say drugs imported into Cameroon must go through the existing drug control procedure, but some importers  do not respect the norms.

The Director General of LANACOME, Mme Abondo Ngono Mballa Rose says, lack of coordination in the sector accounts for this problem .

” Pharmacies are not the problem. We should rather ask how drugs of doubtful quality were imported into Cameroon. We have to get rid of the black market, and ensure a good coordination of all stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector to prevent the importation of fake drugs”.

But as the situation persists, officials of the structure in charge of the procurement, and supply of essential medicines , CENAME are unable to point fingers to defaulters.

“It is not known how exactly the stocks of chloroquine of doubtful quality came into Cameroon, especially since the said product had been withdrawn from the market ten years ago”. Dr Samson Tabi, Director of supplies at the National Center for the procurement and supply of essential medicines, CENAME.

Notwithstanding, Public health authorities are calling on the public to refrain from buying Chloroquine from unauthorized structures.

 

Kathy Neba Sina

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