Silver LiningSmuggling of medicine [Archives:2005/894/Opinion]

November 14 2005

By Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
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Smuggling is a major headache that strongly hits at the heart of Yemen's economy. We know that there are a lot of products that are being smuggled including weapons and drugs. Some big Sheikhs and influential figures are involved in such kind of business. It includes everything and all products.

However, the stories which hear about the smuggling of medicine are horrible and disgusting. It is truly a very serious problem that targets the lives of the people.

Medicines of different kinds are being brought into the country through smugglers. The victims, of course, are the ordinary citizens who buy and consume medicine that has no value and can be very serious. I have learnt that around 40% of the medicines brought into the country are either smuggled or forged. The problem is that the people in charge of health ministry and drugs producers union are fully aware of such danger and can do nothing to stop it as smugglers are either influential figures or protected by them.

I have also known that some medicine which I do not remember its name was brought into the country and later was discovered it was nothing but water in form of injections. This is horrible and catastrophic.

As a citizen, I feel very much panic about my life and the life of others when reading or having such information . Some medicine producers in Yemen complained that some of their products have been copied outside the country and brought into the markets. Others complained that smuggling is not limited to the maritime or land borders. Rather, some smuggled products were brought by plane, something which demonstrates that there is a big gang behind the problem.

Therefore, People in Yemen do not only feel panic about their lives when they go unprofessional doctors but also because they are likely to fall victims of either smuggled or forged medicine.

The prime minister Bajamal once complained about this and that he had medicine which was invalid. He said that a campaign will start addressing this issue. However, we have not seen concrete efforts made to tackle it. This problem is , in fact, a part of the corruption drive that is ruling the country.