Bahrain awash with fake medicines
Around a third of medication sold in Bahrain could be fake, a senior official said, adding that legislation is now being put in place to get to grips with the problem.
Several leading drug companies have already contacted authorities in Bahrain to say they cannot be held responsible for any adverse effects caused by people consuming fake medication, said National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) chief executive Dr Baha Eldin Fathea
"Internationally, this is a serious issue," Dr Fathea told our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"Around 30 per cent of medications anywhere in the world are considered spurious or counterfeit. The same figures stand true for Bahrain as well but the truth is that with the proper legislation and control, the situation in Bahrain can easily be far better."
Dr Fathea said there were reports of fake medication bearing the names of well-known manufacturers being sold in Bahrain after being channelled through European or Arab countries.
"We are regularly conducting checks and have also seized some medications," he said. "However, a need was felt to have a system in place to stop the practice altogether. We are now issuing directives that all bulk purchasing of medications by hospitals, dealers and sellers be done through authorised agents.
"No medications purchased or procured from any other source will be allowed. We hope this will curb the practice."
Sources said a large percentage of drugs being used illegally in Bahrain was being procured by doctors.
Dr Fathea would not comment on the issue, but said efforts would be made to "clean up" Bahrain's medical practice.
He also disclosed a uniform medication pricing policy for the GCC will soon be implemented. "This would mean all the countries in the GCC would have the same pricing," he said.
Action is being taken to reduce discrepancies, with some medicines reportedly up to 70 per cent cheaper in Saudi Arabia than in Bahrain.
"Many people now bring their supplies from there as opposed to buying from Bahrain," said Dr Fathea.
"The new rules would mean these will now be available at the same price in Bahrain, so there will be no need to buy them from a neighbouring country."
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