Medicine Alert: UAE wages all-out war on fake drugs

Ministry of Health and Prevention unveils counterfeit drug detector

DUBAI 2 July 2017: The Ministry of Health and Prevention has unveiled the state-of-the-art TruScan RM Analyser a modern technology used to detect counterfeit or low-quality or fake drugs posing great health threats to the community.

The high-tech device is especially helpful to patients suffering from chronic diseases, ED, heart ailment, and cancer, as part of its on-going commitment to providing universal health coverage and social protection to all individuals, said Wam.

It also enables drug inspection teams in the country to make informed and timely decisions concerning the release of all drug shipments entering the UAE.

Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, the Ministry’s Assistant Under-Secretary for Public Policy and Licensing, said the country has been fighting the spread of counterfeit or fake medicines in the local market by implementing preventive measures, building a quality-control laboratory, and conducting research on medical and other health products.

The country’s relevant policies also aim to empower domestic drug inspectors and authorities responsible for the release of medicines in ports, airports and post offices at the country level and border crossings, he added.

The ministry is planning to roll out the device at all local ports as it moves to employ more drug inspectors to prevent counterfeit, fake and low-quality medicines from being distributed across the UAE.

Dr. Al Amiri noted that the devices were provided to the Abu Dhabi Airport, the Abu Dhabi Post and the border ports in Al Ain and Dubai International Airport.

TruScan Thermo analyser

Accurate Reading

The device performs accurate, reliable, and rapid verification of a broad range of chemical compounds. Significant information is stored in the device’s database to identify and verify samples. Weighing less than 900 grams, TruScan is easy to carry and use, and it gives clear results in seconds depending on Raman radiation. Further, through the device, inspectors can examine the chemicals without the risk of contamination and exposure, while minimising costly laboratory sampling tests.

Dr. Al Amiri disclosed that the ministry would organise workshops and training programmes for drug inspectors, as well as build an up-to-date medicine database from locally registered veterinary to human drugs to guarantee proper device usage.

Many international organisations currently use the TruScan RM Analyser. These include the US Food and Drug Administration, the Saudi Food and Drug Administration, the UK Medicines and Health Care Products Agency, in addition to pharmaceutical companies Sanofi, Novartis, Merck, and Pfizer, among others.

The World Customs Organisation has placed the value of counterfeit medicines at US$200 billion a year globally. The UAE has become one of the world’s leading countries that are fighting the distribution of fake medicines, according to the reports of international organisations, including the Uppsala Medical Monitoring Centre of the World Health Organisation.

By Rajive Singh