BENIN

Chirac joins African leaders in calling for ban on fake drug sales

Former French President Jacques Chirac will be joined by a number of African leaders and international dignitaries in Benin Monday as he launches an initiative to ban the sale of counterfeit drugs especially in the developing world.

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Former French President Jacques Chirac is set to launch an initiative in the Western African nation of Benin Monday calling for a ban on the sale of counterfeit drugs, which causes tens of thousands of deaths each year in some of the world’s poorest nations.

Joined by a number of African leaders and a clutch of international dignitaries as well as industry experts, Chirac will make an international call for action against falsified pharmaceutical drugs in the southern Beninese city of Cotonou.

Falsified medicines pose a major problem across the world, but particularly in developing countries. The WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates that up to 30% of drugs sold in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America are fake.

But while poor countries bear the brunt of the problem, counterfeit drugs are not limited to the developing world. According to the WHO, fake drugs account for about 10% of the world’s pharmaceutical market.

"The trafficking of false drugs is flourishing and extremely alarming,” said Marc Gentilini, a French medical professor and expert on tropical diseases who is advising the Chirac Foundation, the organization driving this initiative, in an interview with the AFP news service.

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