New method for combating counterfeit drugs
As the country's drug markets are flooded with fake and substandard medicines and millions of patients are exposed to the danger of consuming counterfeit drugs, the introduction of a new method to verify the drugs comes as relieving news. A leading pharmaceutical company in partnership with an award-winning start-up has taken the initiative where unique codes engraved on a file of pills can be sent to the manufacturer via text to authenticate the product.
According to the drug makers, an estimated Tk 600 crore of counterfeit medicines are traded in the Tk 18,000 crore medicine market in Bangladesh each year. On Tuesday, the health minister's parliamentary speech also hinted at the enormity of the probelm. He told the parliament that 1997 cases had been filed in the last fifteen months for production and selling of counterfeit medicines. But the government efforts fall short in combating the evergrowing danger of fake drugs due to weak drug administration and legal loopholes. Amid this miserable situation, we hope, the digital enterprise will provide an effective solution to the cumbersome issue of monitoring drug markets.
For the time being, the authentication service is being provided for only two drugs. We hope this initiative will be extended further and more entrepreneurs will come forward in this regard. The government should also consider seriously whether this mobile verification system can be replicated for all types of drugs. In this regard all the major drug manufacturers should be brought on board by the health ministry.