By Amina Nazarli
Counterfeit drugs are among the main scourges of our time. They can kill us as easily as they can cure us. Today, going to a pharmacy, no one is ensured that he or she will take original drugs.
Counterfeit medicines are dangerous because they usually contain cheap and low quality ingredients.
The National Security Ministry along with the Health Ministry is responsible for the fight against illegal drugs in Azerbaijan, Parviz Azizbeyov, Director of the Quality Supervision Inspection at the Center for Analytical Examination of Medicines at the Health Ministry told local media.
“In general, the current situation with drugs in Azerbaijani market is satisfactory. All medicines are checked up before reaching pharmacies and hospitals. Holograms, which are provided with medications are indicative of high quality of the products,” Azizbeyov noted.
He also recommended paying attention to the appearance of the drugs’ packaging: whether the name of a drug has been erased or its expiration date changed and if there is a hologram on the packaging.
“If a consumer is doubtful, he or she has all the rights to ask the seller about the certificate of the drug. However, if the seller doesn’t present the document, the customer can call the hotline of the Centre for Analytical Examination of medicines, dialing 596-07-12,” he noted.
Azizbeyov added that Azerbaijan produces only 1 percent of all drugs used in the country, while 55 percent of them are imported from European countries.
Since the beginning of this year, the Health Ministry’s staff confiscated 1,380 packages of worthless drugs, which were not registered earlier by the state registry.
Most often, some substandard products are imported into the country from Russia, Poland, Turkey and Romania.
“The level of punishment of those who illegally imported and sold substandard or expired drugs is quite humanely in Azerbaijan,” said lawyer Ramiz Aliyev. “It would be better to benefit from the experience of foreign countries, which are stricter in this issue when it comes to people’s health.”
He told echo.az that production, storage, import and sale of fake drugs are fined from 3,000 to 5,000 manats or imprisonment up to two years.
However, if a person, taking this medicine suffers from an organic damage or dies, the culprit will only be jailed for five to ten years.
Law on Medicine Act is the main document in the pharmaceutical market in Azerbaijan, adopted in 2007.This law regulates the legal and organizational activities related to medical and pharma products in the territory of the country and revises the relations in this sphere as well.