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Counterfeit Medication in the Democratic Republic of Congo

19 Aug 2016

The Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network has reported counterfeit nalidixic acid 500mg tablets in the Democratic Republic of Congo; batch number ET082101, manufacture date 06/2014, expiry date 05/2017. The manufacturer is alleged to be ‘Pram-Inter Lab Ltd Ireland'. These tablets do not contain any nalidixic acid.
Nalidixic acid is used to treat Gram-negative [bacterial] infections; counterfeit versions therefore risk treatment failure.

Advice for Travellers

Whenever possible, travellers should take sufficient medicine with them to cover the duration of the trip. It is particularly important that travellers are aware that medicines used for the prevention and treatment of malaria are often subject to counterfeiting in countries where malaria is a serious risk.

 In the event that further medicines need to be obtained abroad (eg if a trip is extended, medicines are lost or stolen or the planned itinerary is changed) travellers can take steps to reduce the risk from counterfeit medicines:

  • Carry a copy of any prescription medicines that you are taking. It should include both the proprietary and brand name of the medicine and also the manufacturer. This applies also to any prescribed antimalarial medicines that you are taking.
  • Buy medicines only from a reputable pharmacy and obtain a receipt. Do not obtain medicines from an open market.
  • Ask the pharmacist about the active ingredient in the medicine; check that it is the same as your own medicine.
  • Make sure that the medicine is in its original packaging. Inspect the package closely, poor quality printing, spelling or labeling may suggest counterfeiting.