TANZANIA Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) has embarked upon a massive operation in a quest to eliminate fake medical drugs and cosmetics that it considers to be harmful to human health.
The operation, according to TFDA Zonal Manager, Moses Mbamba, would also trace local manufacturers, some of the substandard and unlicensed medical drugs and food products. "Products targeted in this operation include locally made human medicines and foods which have not been certified.
Imported products include cosmetics, animal drugs and human medicines," he said. According to Mr Mbamba, most of the fake products seized in the past operations find their way into the country through unofficial border crossings from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
Some of the commodities, however, including the highly corrosive carolite, have been smuggled into the country from as far afield as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Recently, according to Mbamba, TFDA seized fake cosmetics worth more than 30m/- and medical drugs whose value couldn't be established immediately in an operation to curb importation of fake products.
The illegally imported cosmetics and drugs were impounded in shops owned by businessmen based in the city of Dar es Salaam. However, the TFDA manager declined to reveal the names of the businessmen, saying that naming them could jeopardize the whole crackdown. He said that TFDA officially started the operation in March, this year.
This operation, according to Mr Mbamba, would also involve six other districts. In Mwanza Region, weakness in industrial technology in developing countries fuels the sale of fake drugs which are a health hazard to users.
In June, last year, TFDA conducted a similar exercise that covered Lake Zone regions such as Shinyanga, Mara and Kagera. According to Mr Mbamba, poor industrialisation has given a leeway to unfaithful people to manufacture fake medicines.
Others use the opportunity to import drugs that have been banned after being found unsafe for human consumption.