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African leaders tackle fake drugs that kill people and fund terrorism

Author: Danielle Paquette, Washington Post , Published on: 20 January 2020

"Fake drugs kill people and fund terror. African leaders hope to do something about it.", 18 January 2020

The pills tend to come surreptitiously from China, India and Nigeria...They land on street corners...But fake drugs kill tens of thousands of people each year in a global counterfeit trade worth an estimated $200 billion, thwarting progress in the fight against malaria...experts say, while funding organized crime. The scourge is particularly alarming in West Africa, where...“You are poor, and you are spending your money on something that is going to kill you,” Faure Gnassingbé, the president of Togo... “Yet, it is not treated as a crime.”...

The Togolese leader hosted his counterparts from Senegal and Uganda on Saturday in Lome, where...Representatives from Ghana, Congo, Niger and Gambia also signed a pact to ramp up intelligence sharing and security at the borders...Peddling fake drugs is illegal in most countries, but enforcement is shaky...About 122,000 children die each year on the continent from fake antimalarial drugs, according to an estimate from the Brazzaville Foundation, a London group that focuses on the issue. In some areas, as many as 60 percent of drugs sold are thought to be counterfeit, the nonprofit said...

“This abject trafficking generates enormous profits for criminals and terrorists, destabilizing some of the most fragile countries in the world,” said Jean-Yves Ollivier, the foundation’s president...Counterfeit goods have long been linked to criminal gangs, with studies tying knockoff sales to terrorist organizations that exploit child labor...Those militants fund the war by ambushing towns and stealing livestock, taking over artisan gold mines and kidnapping people for ransom, officials have said. They also profit from counterfeit drugs, said Gnassingbé, the Togolese president. “Terrorists,” he said, “are living on fake medicine traffic.”

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