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Unregulated, unregistered medicines reportedly flooding into Zimbabwe



Unregulated and unregistered medicines

Unregulated and unregistered medicines are reportedly flooding into Zimbabwe, with consignments of expired medicines being smuggled into the country through the country’s porous border posts.

Syndicates are allegedly taking advantage of steep United States dollar prices being charged by pharmacies following the collapse of the value of Zimbabwe’s surrogate bond notes and electronic money.

The high prices being charged have left patients at high risk, as they are resorting to cheap and unregulated medicines coming from neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia.

Samuel Gamanya, a pharmacist in Harare’s central business district, said the influx of unregulated medicinal drugs had been on the increase since November when there was an acute shortage of essential drugs.

“We have had unregulated drugs flooding the country since November 2018 after essential drugs became scarce, and later on when they were priced in the US dollar,” he told African News Agency (ANA).

“These drugs, we hear, have been smuggled through Chirundu and Forbes border posts,” he said.

Medical Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) public relations officer Shingai Gwatidzo said the influx of unregistered drugs had been observed in the country and they were working with law enforcement agencies to curb the situation.

“What is commonly observed in the informal markets in Zimbabwe is an influx of unregistered medicines that are smuggled into the country.

These end up being sold from unapproved premises such as street stalls, backpacks, tuckshops, unlicensed health shops, etc. Unregistered medicines, as their definition suggests, would not have been assessed to check their quality and safety profiles,” he said.

“This means that those that end up buying unapproved medicines from unlicensed sources are putting their health at risk because they are not guaranteed of safety, effectiveness, and of good quality.”

Gwatidzo said such medicines, as well as substandard and falsified medicines, were likely to harm patients’ health, “and even lead to death and may be ineffective towards the intended disease/condition”, adding this would ultimately lead to the undermining of confidence in medical products, healthcare professionals, and the Zimbabwe health system.

“Various measures are in place to try and control the influx of unregistered medicines onto the Zimbabwe market. MCAZ is working together with law enforcement agents in conducting raids based on tip-offs,” he said.
African News Agency

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Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies




Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Reuters

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US buys nearly all of Gilead’s Covid-19 drug Remdesivir



Remdesivir Covid 19

The US is buying nearly all the next three months’ projected production of Covid-19 treatment Remdesivir from US manufacturer Gilead.

The US health department announced on Tuesday it had agreed to buy 500,000 doses for use in American hospitals. Tests suggest Remdesivir cuts recovery times, though it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates.

Gilead did sign a licensing deal in May for production outside the US but it is still in its early stages.

“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. A course of treatment in the US will cost $2,340 (£1,900).

Nine companies can make the drug under licence outside the US for distribution in 127 mostly poorer countries, and the cost is lower. But the project is still in its early stages.

Additional quantities are being manufactured for use in clinical trials. But critics say the US move to buy up so much stock from Gilead itself undermines international co-operation on COVID, given that other countries have taken part in trials of Remdesivir, originally an anti-viral against Ebola.

“The trial that gave the result that allowed Remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the US. There were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places,” Oxford University’s Prof Peter Horby told BBC Radio 4.

He said the move also had implications for any possible future vaccine, with the need for “a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they’re going to be used for national emergencies”.

Senior Sussex University lecturer, Ohid Yaqub, said: “It so clearly signals an unwillingness to co-operate with other countries and the chilling effect this has on international agreements about intellectual property rights.”Some in the US have criticised the purchase price, as taxpayer money had helped fund Remdesivir’s development.BBC

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17 new Zimbabwe Covid-19 cases confirmed



Zimbabwe Covid 19

Seventeen new cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe, a majority of which are from quarantine facilities were reported yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 591.

From the cases confirmed yesterday, 13 involved returnees from South Africa, one from Botswana while three were local transmissions. The Ministry of Health and Child Care daily update shows that one of the cases confirmed as a local transmission had to contact with a known confirmed case.

Investigations are, however, underway to establish the source of infection for the two other local transmissions. Cases of recoveries also continue to increase with the latest statistics from the update standing at 162, leaving the country with 421 active COVID 19 cases.

The latest recoveries were reported from Mashonaland East (3), Mashonaland Central (2), Bulawayo (2), Matabeleland North (2), Mashonaland West (1) and Manicaland (1). The number of people who have died from the virus remains at seven.

“To date, the total number of confirmed cases is 591, recovered 162, active cases, 422 and seven deaths since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020,” reads part of the update.

Zimbabwe has so far conducted 67 755 tests for Covid-19 from which, 30 711 were diagnostic tests while the remaining were rapid tests done for screening purposes. The Herald

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