TANZANIA —The Tanzania Medicines & Devices Authority (TMDA) has intensified its efforts to combat the illicit trade in the fight against counterfeit pharmaceuticals in Tanzania.

According to Mr. Kiboko Magigi, the Acting Zonal Manager, the TMDA has recently seized medical drugs worth US$20,000 in the cities of Katavi, Tabora, and Kigoma in the Western Region.

This crackdown is part of a larger national effort, which includes a task force comprising members from border patrol, the Tanzania Police, and other relevant law enforcement agencies such as the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, Tanzania Fair Competition Commission, Tanzania Revenue Authority, and the Department of Weights and Measures.

The sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals is a major problem in Tanzania, accounting for about 30% of all medicines on shelves, according to statistics from the Tanzania Medicines & Devices Authority.

In fact, the Confederation of Tanzania Business estimates that over half of the pharmaceuticals in circulation in Tanzania are counterfeit.

This is made worse by the fact that 80% of the pharmaceuticals in Tanzania are imported, and the illicit business is worth more than US$10 million annually.

The TMDA’s crackdown mainly targeted Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs), which are licensed by the Tanzanian government to sell and dispense medicines.

Despite the efforts of the TMDA and other law enforcement agencies, the illicit trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals continues to thrive, posing a significant threat to public health and safety.

Mr. Kiboko emphasized that the law is clear on the type of drugs that can be sold at the ADDO level, and no person should be caught contravening the law.

He added that the TMDA would continue to pursue the traders to the full extent of the law.

In a positive development, the drugs seized during the crackdown will be donated to Uyui Prison to be used by inmates and the communities surrounding the facility.

The prison healthcare centres are in dire need of drugs to support not only inmates but also the surrounding communities.

Dr. Richard Malifedha, the Assistant Chief Officer of Uyui Prison, expressed his gratitude that the drugs would fill an acute shortage in the facility.

The TMDA’s efforts to curb the trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals are critical for protecting the health and safety of the Tanzanian population.

The prevalence of counterfeit drugs in Tanzania is a significant threat that requires continued vigilance and concerted efforts by all stakeholders to combat it effectively.

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