Counterfeit medication can have negative impact on public’s health

A view of the Centre Hills from the Government headquarters on Montserrat.

BRADES, Montserrat – Vigilance and the importance of purchasing genuine medicines within the region was stressed at a recent workshop in Trinidad & Tobago, which was attended by  six senior officials from Montserrat.

The team of public officials joined other regional counterparts in Trinidad during the period September 13th – 15th, 2010 to attend a “Workshop on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights”.  The focus of the workshop was on “Combating Counterfeit Products having Negative Impact on Health and Safety in the CARICOM Region.

The Team comprised:

  • Mrs. Dulcie James – Financial Services Unit
  • Mr. Colin Fergus – Assistant Secretary – Office of the Chief Minister
  • Mr. Melroy Meade – Comptroller of Customs
  • Mr. Kenroy Hyman –  Counsel in Attorney General’s Office
  • Mr. Charles Thompson – Superintendent of Police
  • Mr. Elijah Silcott – Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Health

According to Elijah Silcott, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and head of the local delegation, throughout the sessions “it was emphasized that illegal trafficking of counterfeit medicines are having a negative impact on the health and safety of our people in the region. This results in persons being treated for ailments and not recovering from their illnesses. Officials responsible for the procurement of medicines are therefore urged to be extremely cautious in ensuring that they purchase medicines from genuine sources.”

The workshop was organized by the United States Embassy in Trinidad in conjunction with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and the Institute for Policy (IPI).

The Team was involved in discussions on various topics including:

  • The Scope of Global Challenge in combating trade in counterfeit medicines.
  • The Social and Economic impact counterfeit medicines are having on the region
  • The role of regulatory agencies in inspection, regulation and enforcement activities.
  • Investigating intellectual property crime involving counterfeit medicines and other health and safety products.
  • Prosecuting intellectual property crimes, trafficking, illicit labeling and packaging of counterfeit medicines.

Additional work is to be done in the coming months to assess how extensive the sale and procurement of counterfeit medications is on Montserrat and measures put in place to regulate this activity.