The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Friday appealed to international donors to join them in an effort to fight medicine theft, SAPA/News24 reports.
"We will invite the agencies to take concerted action to stem drug thefts, ranging from information sharing and joint strengthening of procurement and distribution capacity in developing countries to applying stringent security measures around drug storage and transport," Global Fund spokesman Andrew Hurst said, according to the news service (12/10). The effort will also look to attract technical and law enforcement agencies and health official, according to a Global Fund press release. "A preliminary meeting will be held in January to draw up a joint action plan," the release states.
Although drug theft "is an old and persistent problem in developed and developing countries alike, … [p]roblems are exacerbated by limited resources and imperfect distribution systems in many of the world's poorest countries," according to the release. The release notes there have been "reports and allegations of large-scale theft" of the malaria drugs called Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) in recent years and describes the factors that have contributed to this trend.
"Theft of medicines is a problem that affects all institutions investing in health services, and we must clamp down on it," said Global Fund Executive Director Michel Kazatchkine. "However, no single institution can act on its own. We can only solve this challenge if we all work together," he said (12/10).
The Global Fund "has demanded stricter control with drug warehousing and distribution in five African countries already based on reports of possible drug thefts," SAPA/News24 adds (12/10).