A growing number of Zimbabweans infected with HIV are being sold counterfeit or contaminated anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) at non-approved dispensaries such as flea markets and hair salons, according to IRIN, the United Nations news service.
With the health system in collapse and medication in short supply, only a fraction of Zimbabwe’s estimated 300,000 patients in need to ARVs have access to real medication.
Most cannot afford to pay private-sector prices for the drugs, while government-subsidized programs cannot handle the demand.
Trade groups blame the government for a lack of internal controls and for not going after the counterfeiters, while unlicensed “doctors” perform illegal surgeries and then sell patients counterfeit drugs, often with fatal consequences.
“ZIMBABWE: Fake ARVs threaten lives”
IRIN (United Nations), August 24, 2007