12 January 2011

Tanzania: TFDA Should Do More


Falling sick is part and parcel of human life. What follows determines whether or not one will recover from an affliction.

Seeking timely medical attention increases one's chances of making a full recovery. This also depends on proper diagnosis and prescription of medication. But one may seek timely medical attention and get the right prescription, only to be provided with substandard drugs that could endanger one's life.

It is good news that the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) has stopped sale of nine types of drugs - both imported and locally produced ones.

However, this is not enough as it leaves a number of pertinent questions unanswered. How many unsuspecting people have used the blacklisted drugs? How can people be sure that what they are buying are quality drugs and not some concoction that has turned into poison?

This is one area where authorities need to be proactive in their actions. A reactive approach to regulation of the sale and distribution of drugs can have tragic consequences.

Some of these fake medicines enter the country through our airports, ports and other entry points. Some are produced locally. Preventing the entry and distribution of such drugs should not prove to be a tall order for TFDA and other relevant agencies.

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