10 June 2017

Burundi: Expired and Fake Drugs Seized in Bujumbura

The police discovered a large quantity of expired and fake drugs in the capital on 8 June. The police seized the drugs from a private house on 3rd Avenue in Muramvya, Kinama. The drugs included suppositories, quinine and paracetamol amongst other things.

Two people, the spouse and the brother of the accused, were arrested during the investigation, police said. Jean Ndikumana, the accused, had already left his home when the police arrived on the ground. He is on the run.

Residents of the area said they ignored that Ndikumana made fraudulent drugs. "His house is always closed. We don't care that he made fake drugs", says Nahimana, a resident of the area. Nahimana said that some medicines sold in the surrounding drugstores would be sourced in the area but was not worried about the threat from fake medicines. "The health officials should control all drugs sold to ensure that they are not falsified once they expired otherwise they will kill us", he says.

Thadée Ndikumana, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, says that the accused used a number of techniques to falsify expiration dates. "He clears the drug's packaging and updates the expiration dates using a stamp", says Ndikumana.

Ndikumana also says the fraudster can change the packaging to contain the wrong drugs. "If there is paracetamol in the box, he would exchange the container and leave the label saying it is quinine", he says.

The Health Ministry's spokesman urges residents not to buy inappropriate drugs. "The health inspector will start an investigation to identify the suppliers and buyers of these drugs", says Ndikumana.

Désiré Bizimana, chairperson of the pharmacy Order, says that the government must be involved in combatting drugs fraud. He said the situation was worrying: large numbers of pharmacies have opened in recent years, and not all of them will abide by the strict ethical guidelines.

Freddy Mbonimpa, the Mayor of Bujumbura, says that the administration will also contribute to the fight against the scourge and gave a warning to local administrative officials. "We made a decision that each time we discover administrative officials are complicit, they will be dismissed", says Mbonimpa.


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