The Zambian government on Wednesday said that it has ramped up surveillance measures against the entrance of counterfeit or substandard medical products into the country.
Christopher Simoonga, the permanent secretary for Administration in the Ministry of Health, said the measures include creating a robust framework that harnesses the power of technology to ensure that every pharmaceutical product can be tracked back to its source, verified for authenticity and held to the highest quality standard.
In remarks delivered during a stakeholders’ meeting on pharmaceutical traceability, the official said the government was committed to ensuring the safety, efficacy and integrity of the healthcare system through pharmaceutical traceability.
According to him, challenges in ensuring the authenticity and transparency of pharmaceutical products have evolved significantly in a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected and technologically advanced.
“The consequences of counterfeit drugs, substandard medications and the proliferation of unscrupulous actors in the pharmaceutical supply chain are there, and at times even fatal,” he said.
He stressed that it was the government’s duty to safeguard the health and well-being of citizens but this requires concerted efforts across all sectors, adding that a holistic approach could help create a system that would not only detect and prevent the infiltration of falsified medicines but also provides the tools to swiftly respond if a breach occurs.