06/09/2009, 00.00
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Beijing and New Delhi at loggerheads over the sale of fake Chinese drugs in Africa

Nigerian authorities slam the sale of fake generic anti-malarial drugs labelled `Made in India' which are, in fact, made in China. New Delhi complains that this is not an isolated incident and that “there is no reason for Nigeria to be the only country to be receiving such consignments.”
New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China is selling counterfeit drugs in Africa with the ‘Made in India’ label. Nigeria’s National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) issued a warning about a large consignment of fake generic anti-malarial pharmaceuticals that have a ‘Made in India’ label when in fact they are made in China. New Delhi has registered a “strong protest” with the Chinese mission and China's Foreign Trade Ministry.

“While this is a case of a Chinese company exporting fake ‘Made in India’ labelled medicines which has been accidentally exposed, it is unlikely to be an isolated incident,” India's High Commissioner in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Mahesh Sachdev wrote in a letter to his country’s Commerce Secretary GSK Pillai. “Indeed there is no reason for Nigeria to be the only country to be receiving such consignments,” he said.

“Fake foreign-made generics carrying ‘Made in India’ label can do tremendous harm to our interests. It not only dents our image and takes our legitimate market share, it also erodes the distinction between generic and fake medicines that we have been campaigning for at WHO and WTO,” the high commissioner’s letter said.

India and China have been accused of exporting drugs to Africa that fail to meet international safety standards or those set by the main patent holders. The main markets involved are Ghana, South Africa, Ivory Coast and West Africa.

Such accusations have usually come from multinational drug companies. But both Asian nations have rejected the latter’s claims, arguing that their drugs are safe. Indeed India has been trying hard to get the WHO and WTO seals of approval. Instead Beijing and New Delhi have complained that criticism of their products is due to their lower prices which cut into the monopolies multinationals have in developing markets.

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