Counterfeit Drugs Flooding Egypt: Tip of a Large, Dangerous Iceberg


(DGIwire) – Egypt has been flooded with counterfeit drugs lately: according to a recent Al-Monitor report, 30 percent of medications now available in the country are counterfeit. This includes critical medications used to fight cancer, liver maladies, allergies and diabetes. Compounding the problem is the lack of a centralized, independent committee dedicated to ensuring that Egyptian drugs are safe. The government was forced to reset during the Arab Spring, which resulted in the deposition of former president Hosni Mubarak. The situation was further complicated when the coalition led by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removed duly elected president Mohamed Morsi from power and suspended the constitution.

In an Al-Monitor report, Mohamed Seoudi, Under Secretary of the Egyptian Pharmacists Syndicate, shared insights on the Egyptian prescription drug problem. According to Seoudi, the problem is tightly linked to pharmacies that have multiple branches whose owners hold huge capital and are close to the decision makers in Egypt. He added that the pharmacy owners are the ones mainly selling counterfeit and smuggled drugs.

The big losers are the civilians. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, counterfeit medicine is fake medicine; it may be contaminated, contain the wrong or inactive ingredient, or could have the right active ingredient but at the wrong dose. Counterfeit drugs are illegal and may be harmful to our health. For someone who need the drugs, this could mean the difference between life and death.

One company is taking steps to battle counterfeit products, including counterfeit drugs. Based in Stony Brook, NY, Applied DNA Sciences is an innovator when it comes to protecting vulnerable manufacturers, corporations, the military and household brands. Based on full, double-stranded plant DNA, the company’s SigNature® DNA can be applied to the labels of branded packaging at any point in the manufacturing or distribution process. The marks created by SigNature DNA are specific to each product and indelible, protecting them from counterfeiting.  The verification process can be as simple as shining a black light to uncover a mark, or as complex as running lab tests. Either way, it will ensure that the entire supply chain is secure.

“We want to protect consumers first,” says Dr. James A. Hayward, President and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences. “Counterfeiting is bad for manufacturers and can be fatal for users of adulterated drugs. Human lives are always the most important reason for the work we do.”