Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Counterfeit drug-trafficking rife in Kingdom, experts say

Counterfeit drug-trafficking rife in Kingdom, experts say

Counterfeit drug-trafficking rife in Kingdom, experts say

091119_04
A woman accepts money for medication sold out of a box on the steps of her home outside Phnom Penh earlier this year. Cambodia is still struggling to curb the sale of counterfeit drugs.

CAMBODIA IS BECOMING A HUB FOR REGIONAL TRAFFIC IN COUNTERFEIT DRUGS.

CAMBODIA is fast becoming a focal point for regional traffic in counterfeit medication, experts warned on Wednesday at the opening of a three-day seminar.

Organised by the French embassy, the event is focused on eliminating counterfeit drugs from the Mekong sub-region. “Around the world, US$70 billion is spent every year on counterfeit drugs, which kill thousands of people who unknowingly ingest them,” French Ambassador Jean François Desmazieres said in the opening address.

Researchers have found that counterfeit and substandard medicines are bolstering the drug resistance of malarial parasites and in some cases have triggered adverse – even fatal – reactions.

“Cambodia is becoming a hub for regional traffic in counterfeit drugs,” said Anne-Lise Sauterey, coordinator of Southeast Asia illicit trade watchdog The Observatory. Of particular concern is the spread of fake antimalarial drugs, which she described as particularly severe in the Mekong sub-region and indelibly linked to the trade in illegal substances.

“A survey of regional malaria medications found that 50 percent were counterfeit,” she said, noting that the fake drugs were stamped with 80 different varieties of counterfeited verification holograms. Analyses of fake medicine seized in Cambodia between 2007 and 2008 detected the recurring presence of saffrole and metamizole, both precursor substances in the production of methamphetamine.

As much as 30 percent of medication on sale in developing countries is fake or substandard, according to William Mfuko, a technical officer at the World Health Organisation in Cambodia. Pharmacies operating without licences are often to blame, and the government has closed more than 1,000 of them since 2005.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune