Illegal online medical products raise eyebrows

Friday August 7 2020

 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3 jnamkwahe@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Rapidly growing technology has been pointed out as one of the factors for the rising numbers of filed cases associated with illegal online sales and promotion of medical products in the country.

The Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) made this revelation yesterday further warning that such illegal practices put the lives of consumers in great danger due to the fact that they lack scientific basis or experience to identify unregistered or unapproved medicines promoted and supplied online by unscrupulous people. TMDA statistics for 2019/20 show that at least 146 cases have been recorded in relation to the violation of laws and regulations. The TMDA statistics further indicate that 32 out of the filed cases have been resolved through fines and 32 are still under court proceedings, while 82 are under police investigation.

Other filed cases were associated with the violation of laws and regulations governing the manufacturing of medicines and medical devices in the country, according to TMDA’s legal services manager Iskari Fute.

However, TMDA, which is responsible for protecting and promoting public health by ensuring quality, safety and effectiveness of medicines, medical devices and diagnostics, has reiterated its commitment to strengthen and enforce laws and regulations governing sales, marketing and manufacturing of medicines and medical devices.

The regulatory body has called upon local government authorities and law enforcers to ensure that dealers of medicines and medical devices in the country comply with the existing laws and regulations.

“Dealers of regulated products must ensure that the information provided about the products are correct and meet the objective to encourage their rational use,” said TMDA’s drug inspector for Eastern Zone, Ms Gloria Matemu.

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Ms Matemu added that, no sale or supply of samples of medicines or devices to the public was allowed unless the samples were labelled ‘physician sample not for sale’.

For his part, the director general of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Mr James Kilaba, has reiterated his office’s commitment to offer technical assistance that will facilitate the confinement of offenders.

“I encourage the regulatory bodies in the country to work closely with TCRA so as to detain those people who commit such offences through online platforms,” said Mr Kilaba.