One in five persons who buy pharmaceutical drugs today will be given counterfeit products. Some of those unwitting customers will suffer fatal reactions. That’s all. Have a nice day, Trinidad and Tobago.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan again demonstrated his profound usefulness and suitability for a managerial role by scaring the nation half to death and shaking the public’s faith in the pharmaceutical industry yesterday during a forum on counterfeit drug trafficking in Westmoorings.
“About 20 per cent of the drugs here and worldwide are counterfeit drugs,” said Khan, in today’s Trinidad Express.
He mentioned, with a flippant disregard for details, cancer drugs, anti-hypertension, anti-diabetic, antibiotics and even paracetamol. What Khan did not say was what he was doing about it and why a crackdown on suppliers is not taking place this very instance for the public’s benefit.
When asked for more specifics on the deadly drugs, Khan said: “We were compiling the list to put it out.”
And how about the drug suppliers?
“(They) are going to be held responsible eventually for any mishaps that occur and suffer the consequences for it,” said Khan.
Who will hold them responsible? Will it be their consciences?
And what the hell do we do now at the drug store?
“If the drug looks like the original, there are quite a few factors in it that would show that it is not original,” said the Health Minister, “and that is the packaging, the way it is put together, the consistency of the tablet.”
The first part of his sentence is the clincher: “if the drug looks like the original.”
Do we need degrees in medicine to survive a trip to the pharmacy? Can we panic now?
Mr Live Wire recommends that everyone gets a pharmaceutical friend to test the “consistency” of their tablets before taking that next prescription. Presumably, it is a similar job to wine testing.
Would the Prime Minister please remove the benign lump in the Health Minister’s chair? We are probably better off with a Government laptop and using Dr Google.