Having been a victim of malaria only a few days before my travel to Germany, there was no way a particular article in the June edition of Emirates airline's in-flight magazine was going to escape my attention.
The article was titled Deadly Fakes. It was about an emerging ‘epidemic of counterfeits’ of life-saving drugs in Asia, which is now spreading to the developing world.
The article spoke of bogus antibiotics, tuberculosis drugs, AIDS drugs and meningitis vaccines. I wondered whether I might be one of the latest victims of this phenomenon given that the first course of treatment I got for my malaria failed to work.
All this spells doom for Africa where most of the aforementioned drugs are needed more than ever before. With more ARVs, TB drugs and anti-malarials on the increase in Africa – where most national drug authorities lack the technology to identify fakes – the statistics of fatalities caused by counterfeit drugs are bound to skyrocket.