Almost half a million people in sub-Saharan Africa die each year at the hands of two types of substandard or fake drugs, according to a new United Nations threat assessment report.
In a shocking development, a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Thursday warned that counterfeit drugs are to blame for the deaths of nearly 500,000 people annually.
The latest UN’s transnational organized crime threat assessment warns that out of the 500,000 deaths, up to 169,271 deaths are linked to fake and substandard antibiotics used to treat severe pneumonia in children.
Also, 267,000 deaths per year are linked to fake and substandard antimalarial medicines.
The report also shows that between January 2017 and December 2021, more than 605 tons of medical supplies were seized in West Africa alone as a result of international operations.
Meanwhile, the UNODC study says that a range of players participating in the trafficking of illegal medical products have been found via its investigations. They include government officials, employees of pharmaceutical companies, law enforcement personnel, healthcare agency personnel, and street sellers who all act as traffickers.
The report makes recommendations for law introduction and revision in Africa to stop all related drug trafficking offences, including those involving smuggling, money laundering, and corruption.