WHO Issues Global Alert Over False Medical Products

AKP Phnom Penh, April 03, 2020 —

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning consumers, healthcare professionals and health authorities against a growing number of falsified medical products that claim to prevent, detect, treat or cure COVID-19.

In an alert released in Geneva Thursday, the WHO said the pandemic was “creating an opportunity for ill-intended persons to distribute falsified medical products.”

“Due diligence is required from all actors in the procurement, use and administration of medical products, in particular those affected by the current crisis,” it said.

For in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) and laboratory reagents used to detect the virus, the UN agency said it had received “multiple” reports of falsified products.

But it said only eight countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Korea, Russia, Singapore and the United States) had listed IVDs for diagnosis based on expedited regulatory assessments.

“End-users are encouraged to check the labelling against the information posted by regulatory authorities upon listing to ensure they are in possession of the genuine product. This information might include product name, product code, expiry date, instructions for use and manufacturer details,” the WHO said.

As for medicines and vaccines, the UN agency “does not recommend any medicines to treat or cure COVID-19.” Moreover, “there is no vaccine” at this stage,” it added.

“Products claiming to be vaccines to prevent COVID-19 may be considered falsified and may pose significant risks to public health,” the agency underlined.

The WHO added that unregulated websites supplying medicines or vaccines — especially those concealing their address or landline telephone number — “are frequently the source of unlicensed, substandard and falsified medical products.”

Such products “are likely to be falsified medicines. In addition, some websites may appear to provide easy access to legitimate medicines that are otherwise not readily available,” the WHO warned.

“End-buyers and consumers should be especially wary of such online scams and exert due-diligence when purchasing any medical product, whether online or not.”

Regarding the issue, Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen has recently warned the public about fake and falsified medical products and ordered the competent authorities to take strict legal action.
As of 07:00 am on April 03, 2020, Cambodia has recorded 114 COVID-19 confirmed cases, including 49 Cambodians, 40 French, 13 Malaysians, 5 British, 2 Americans, 2 Indonesians, one Canadian, one Belgian, and one Chinese. Of them, 35 have been successfully cured.

Since the first case detected in Preah Sihanouk province in late January, the COVID-19 pandemic has now hit 13 provinces and capital of Cambodia.

By Sao Da & Khan Sophirom