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Medicines , Where to Get Them ?

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  • Medicines , Where to Get Them ?

    Title : When shopping online is deadly
    By Yusi Anggriani and Stanley Saputra (360info) , July 27, 2022

    [...Online shopping for pharmaceuticals is big business in Indonesia...

    The Indonesian health ministry launched regulations in 2020 to control online pharmacies and protect society from fake medicines. Of the thousands of online pharmacies, only 12 have an online licence. The rest are illegal and potentially sell fake medicines. None of the pharmacies on popular e-commerce platforms are registered with the ministry...

    The trade in fake medicines is worth as much as US$31 billion in middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    In early January 2022, three men were arrested in Bogor, after producing fake ethical medicines in their automotive workshop.
    At the end of 2020, two men were arrested in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, when they purchased fake medicines online from Jakarta and allegedly planned to re-sell them...

    The total number of fake medicines distributed in the online market remains unknown, but the risk is high. Fake medicines...may endanger health, prolong illness and even cause death...In 2017, fake antimalarials in sub-Saharan Africa caused 64,000 to 158,000 deaths...

    Indonesia’s health-care program has struggled to stay within its budget and faces a deficit of US$3.4 billion...Some might question whether this would lead to poor-quality medicines, but findings from Brawijaya University and The George Institute show that universal health-care provisions such as Indonesia’s national insurance scheme provide quality medicines.

    Given the constrained budget and complex procurement system, medicine manufacturers found it difficult to maintain their production quality. Getting medicines through unlicensed channels carries a high risk, but formal and licensed channels carry risks too. In 2019 Indonesia’s Food and Drugs Administration launched a case against a pharmaceutical distributor that had repackaged generic and expired medicines into new packaging and sold it to 197 drug stores at a higher price. An investigation of an infant’s death in 2016 uncovered a fake-vaccine syndicate that had been operating for over 10 years. Members of the syndicate, including medical staff, had distributed the vaccines to 47 private hospitals and health clinics. For the perpetrators of these schemes, the motive is clear: vast profits...

    While fake medicines may be found anywhere, going to clinics or hospitals is safer than buying medicines online.
    Getting medicines through Indonesia’s national insurance program usually ensures good quality too. Those queues at the puskesmas are worth it for safe, authentic medicines....]

    Yusi Anggriani is a lecturer of Public Health in the Faculty of Pharmacy Pancasila University, Jakarta . She leads Systematic Tracking of At-Risk Medicines (STARmeds) Her research interests are Pharmacoeconomics, and public health.
    Stanley Saputra is the Engagement Manager for the STARmeds study.