Fighting medicines that kill in Africa: A collaborative and integrated approach

The traffic in falsified and substandard medicines (FSMs) is a severe public health problem for individuals, families, communities and countries by depriving them of access to affordable and good medicines. Although there are encouraging signs of growth in local pharmaceutical production on the African continent, a 2019 study indicates that only 10-30% of medicines consumed in sub-Saharan Africa are manufactured locally according to McKinsey, 2020.

How are African govts addressing the threat?

In response to this significant health scourge, African govts have joined forces with WHO and other public and private sector actors, including civil society, to address this health threat effectively and substantially improve patient access to quality medicines and health care.

In line with the political declaration signed by six African countries (Republic of Congo, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda) on 18 January 2020, the main objective of the Lomé Initiative is to implement national plans to combat falsified and substandard medicines.

As the political coordinator of the initiative, the Togolese Republic has volunteered to lead a pilot project to combat FSMs, which will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022.

As part of the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Togo, the WHO and the Brazzaville Foundation organised an event on 23 August in the Centre International des Conférences de Lomé. High-level speakers included;

What were the opbjectives of the event?

The objectives of the event were as follows : 

  • To bring together Ministers of Health to share updated information and best practices implemented to fight against substandard and falsified medicines in African countries;
  • To present the objectives of the Lomé Initiative against FSMs and all actions undertaken since the signing of the political declaration in 2020, and other existing initiatives;
  • To invite the Ministers present to optimise the coordination of FSMs’ fight at the continental level and to make recommendations in this regard.