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Health care providers must develop organizational policies and procedures for tracking and reporting Medication Errors

College of Pharmacy, a constituent college of Gulf Medical University organized a Seminar on Pharmacy in the 21st Century – Learning Practice and Technology on the 19th of December 2009 at GMU Campus in Ajman from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm. The conference was inaugurated by the Provost of the university Prof. Gita Ashok Raj. Earlier the delegates were welcomed by Dr. Arun Shirwaikar, Dean College of Pharmacy, GMU.

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Abu Dhabi Gets Strict on Adverse Drug Reactions

Dr. Mohamed Abuelkhair, Advisor, Drugs & Medical Products, Health Authority of Abu Dhabi talked about Pharmacovigilance. He said that the Health care providers to develop organizational policies and procedures for tracking, identifying, documenting, and reporting Medication Errors. Health care Professionals should adopt the NCC MERP Medication Error severity categorization to document and Report ME. He said that currently 84 countries are Full members and 24 countries as Associate members of the WHO Programme for International Drug Monitoring. Dr Elkhair highlighted the importance of the role of healthcare professionals to report on adverse reactions and medication errors to the health authorities in the country to avoid possible serious adverse implications.

Dr. Maryam Galadari, Pharmacy Division Chairperson, Emirates Medical Association spoke about Pharmacy Law in UAE. She emphasized on the new rules being implemented by the authorities for pharmacists and pharmacies. She said the UAE Laws regarding pharmacies is similar to that in other Arab countries.

Dr. Alaa El-Dein El-Gindy, Manager, Quality Control, Julphar Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries spoke about Pharmaceutical Technologies and highlighted on the quality control measures in Pharma industry.

Problem Based Learning in Pharmacy Education was discussed by Dr. Nehad Mahdi, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy – GMU. She said that PBL fosters the development of self directed learning strategies and make it easier for students to retain knowledge, apply knowledge and find solution strategies to new and unfamiliar situations.

About 75 doctors and pharmacists participated in this seminar.

The seminar was accredited by the Ministry of Health for 5.5 CME Hrs.

Abu Dhabi Cracks Down On Fake Impotence Drugs

The Ministry of Justice and the Government in Abu Dhabi is becoming increasingly concerned about the huge illegal trade in fake erectile dysfunction medication that is booming in the country. They have noted that even legal pharmacies in the country have been duped into selling the fake drugs unwittingly. In response to this problem the Ministry of Justice is busy finalising new rules which will see much stiffer penalties for those criminal caught in the process of making or trading in these counterfeit versions of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

Dr Mohammed Abuelkhair who heads the Drug Control Department of the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi claims that pharmacies are often tempted to buy these illegal products because they are so much cheaper and therefore the mark ups and profits are much larger, however it is hoped that these new laws which could mean complete closure of the pharmacy and withdrawal of pharmaceutical licences will deter them.

The problem of fake erectile dysfunction medication passing through the United Arab Emirates is also something that the authorities are dealing with. They have had a number of successes over the previous year and it is now apparent that a lot of criminal manufacturers of fake Viagra, Cialis and Levitra use the United Arab Emirates ports to pass these counterfeit medications through before they go on to Europe and America.

Dr Abuelkhair commented that most of the fake erectile dysfunction medications that ended up in the United Arab Emirates were traced back to illegal setups in "dirty warehouses" which were using sophisticated printing equipment to make the packaging of the substandard medications look more authentic. At Ukmedix News we have seen hundreds of scams involving fake erectile dysfunction medication much of which is sold on the internet. It is estimated that almost 75% of the Viagra sold online is counterfeit.

If you do buy erectile dysfunction medication in the United Kingdom on the internet you must use a legal website which provides a prescription and the also the pharmacy address from where your drug is coming from. If you do not have these assurances you are almost certainly buying a substandard impotence medication which could damage your health seriously.

Barcode strategy in war against counterfeit medicines

ABU DHABI // All medicines in the capital could soon be marked with high-tech barcodes to try to stamp out the huge market in counterfeit drugs. The Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) plans to use the system to track and trace the supply and distribution of legitimate medicines. An estimated Dh1.4 billion is spent on pharmaceuticals each year in the UAE. Although precise figures are difficult to come by, globally it is estimated that fake drugs worth about 10 per cent of the legitimate market are seized each year.

Dr Mohammed Abuelkhair, the head of drug regulation at HAAD, said the new system could be in place early next year. If it is a success, he said, HAAD would present its findings to the federal Ministry of Health. "The barcode is placed on every package of medicine," he said. "All the medicines that comes into the country goes to the agent, and before it leaves the agent it will be barcoded with a special, unique, code, then it goes to the pharmacies."

Distributing agents would have to liaise with the authority to work out what barcodes they would need. Every box of medicine will come with a randomly selected number and barcode containing information about the manufacturer, batch number and expiry dates. It will also include information such as dose and strength. Dr Abuelkhair said: "The pharmacies can use the barcode for point-of-contact sale, but also to verify that the medicine is genuine.

"And the patient can go home with the packet, dial a number, and, using the code on the box it will tell him about the medicine so he knows whether it is real or fake." It would be almost impossible for counterfeiters to forge the numbers because they would be randomly selected and unique to each packet. If they did try, he said, it would trigger an alarm when the genuine number is scanned by a pharmacy at the point of sale.

Dr Abuelkhair said the risks of taking fake medicines ranged from antibiotic resistance to death, depending on the ingredients. A series of raids in Egypt in 2008 found counterfeit medicines valued at hundreds of millions of dollars and "exposed a criminal network feeding consumers across the Middle East", according to the World Health Organisation. The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, which is based in the US, estimates that global counterfeit drug sales could reach US$75 billion (Dh275bn) this year.

In May, Dubai Customs seized seven million sexual stimulant and fertility drug tablets from a warehouse in the dry port, estimated to be worth as much as $70m. Yasar Yaman, the regional director of global security at Pfizer, which makes the male impotence drug Viagra, said the company had found fake medicines made in "rodent and pest-infected" laboratories. Around 40 Pfizer medicines are known to have been counterfeited.

Mr Yaman, who is based in Dubai, said: "We've also seen supposedly 'sterile' injectables filled with ordinary tap water in bathrooms." Ingredients have included brick dust, antifreeze, paint, arsenic, plaster and wallboard. Since 2004, more than 58 million counterfeit Pfizer tablets, capsules and vials have been seized. In the UAE the company has identified fake versions of Lipitor, used to treat high cholesterol, and Viagra. Mr Yaman said he recognised that these may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Dr Abuelkhair said it was often difficult to tell how fake medicines entered the market. Some may come in the mail as private packages, others are sold by wholesalers. As counterfeiting grows more sophisticated, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot a fake without testing it in a laboratory. Ashley How, a UK-based member of the Pharmaceutical Security Initiative, a non-profit anti-counterfeiting initiative, said the packaging was particularly hard to tell apart from that of legal medicines.

"It is so similar to the genuine packaging, a system of authenticating the genuine from the counterfeit is essential," he said. "At the pharmacy level it's the pharmacist that has the last bit of real control over that individual package before it's handed to the patients." Mr How said a system was required that would allow pharmacists to check authenticity by quickly scanning the package.