Sunday, April 14, 2024

Morocco’s Fight Against Illegal Pharmaceutical Trade: Safeguarding Public Health from Unlicensed Sales and Counterfeits

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The Moroccan Ministry of Health highlighted the variety of laws prohibiting the pharmaceutical trade outside licensed pharmacies. The minister made his remarks in response to a written question by the president of the parliamentary group of the Popular Movement (MP) in the House of Representatives, Driss Sentissi. During his intervention, Sentissi expressed concern about the notable increase in the counterfeit pharmaceutical trade, warning of the dangers to public health, particularly due to the uncertain origin of these medicines, including expired ones.

This comes amid mounting concerns regarding the increase in illegal practices and incidents, such as the sale of pharmaceutical drugs without prescriptions, and the forgery of medical documents, and medical equipment. In this regard, the minister highlighted Article 112 of Law No. 17.04, which constitutes a clear code prohibiting the sale of medicines outside of channels specifically dedicated to pharmacies.

He affirmed that any proposal to sell medicines outside of these channels is strictly prohibited, particularly on public roads, in markets, homes or stores not intended for the exercise of the pharmaceutical profession. For its part, article 107 of the same law completely prohibits pharmaceutical trade with a view to their sale in any form whatsoever, he specified. In the event of a violation of these provisions, Ait Taleb stressed that legal action would be taken against the offenders.

Morocco’s Strategic Measures to Safeguard Pharmaceutical Trade and Public Health

He added that the mission of inspecting pharmacies, drug stocks in clinics and pharmaceutical institutions, as well as drug warehouses, is entrusted to pharmacist inspectors legally mandated by the ministry in charge.

In this context, the minister shed light on Decree No. 2.18.878 published in September 2021, which details the modalities for exercising control by pharmacist inspectors. In addition, Circular No. 485 issued on May 25, 2023, outlines the need to respect the legal route for medicines and health products, with an explicit ban on sales on social media or the Internet.

Furthermore, the minister underlined the importance of the role played by the Moroccan Agency for Medicines and Health Products, created under Law No. 10.22 of July 12, 2023, in strengthening surveillance over the health sector. Sentissi also pointed out the risk linked to the sale of certain medicines online, highlighting the lack of authorization and necessary qualifications among sellers. He also questioned the minister on the surveillance measures put in place and the awareness-raising mechanisms deployed to prevent the marketing of these medicines, intending to guarantee the health security of the Moroccan population.

Pharmaceutical Trade

Morocco’s Vigilant Battle Against Pharmaceutical Crimes: A Year of Key Arrests and Seizures

It is noteworthy that as Morocco intensifies its efforts to combat pharmaceutical trafficking crimes, recent operations serve as a testament to the effectiveness of intelligence-driven interventions and collaboration, as well as the efforts made by Morocco’s authorities in cracking down on illegal practices within the industry.

Last year saw several security operations cracking down on illegal practices, including the arrest of people involved in the unauthorized practice of medicine. One incident occurred in June last year when police arrested three people for illegally practicing medicine in Rabat.

The arrestees included a manager of a hairdressing salon, his wife, and an employee. They were suspected of identity theft and unauthorized practice of medicine. As part of the operation, police seized 48 boxes of different types of injections, and 76 other injections that expired.

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