Egypt's pharmaceutical companies to combat counterfeit and expired drugs
Egypt's chamber of pharmaceutical industries is launching a new campaign in collaboration with the health ministry and the pharmacists' syndicate to collect the counterfeit and expired drugs from pharmacies nationwide, said the chamber's chief Osama Rostom.
The second of its kind, the latest campaign is set to launch on 17 October and last for six months, subject to a three-month extension if needed. The first campaign took place in 2012.
Rostom revealed that there was an estimated EGP 600 million ($76.6 million) worth of counterfeit and expired drugs on the Egyptian market, constituting two percent of the country's total annual pharmaceutical sales.
The campaign's launch comes in conjunction with a new policy regulating the return of expired drugs, stipulating that manufacturers accept expired medicines within a maximum period of six months of the expiry date.
Throughout the duration of the campaign, all manufacturing companies must accept all returns of medicines that expired before 17 October.
"Each manufacturer will examine their returns and upon approval, will compensate the pharmacist for them," Rostom explained. "But if the drugs prove to be smuggled or fake, they will be destroyed and the pharmacists will receive no compensation."
Rostom added that the aim behind the campaign was to clear the market of counterfeit and expired drugs, not to punish pharmacists.
In addition, Rostom blamed small pharmacies for the issue, as they tend to over-stock, unlike larger pharmacies and chains, which tend to order the quantities they need based on their sales.