FW:  Millions of dollars lost in expired AIDS drug scam (Zim babwe)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Parker, Kathleen
> Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 1:39 PM
> To: Irwin, Kathleen; 'Nancy McCharen'; Campbell, Carl; Painter, Thomas;
> Bell, Elizabeth; Duckworth, Melanie A.; Nieburg, Phil; Imara, Hiari;
> Davis, Shirley; Housworth, Cynthia; Joesoef, Riduan; Ryan, Caroline;
> Schmid, George
> Subject: FW:  Millions of dollars lost in expired AIDS drug scam
> Sounds like a scam that could have origins in one of two African countries
> - that will remain unnamed. KP
> -----Original Message-----
> From: AF-AIDS [SMTP:af-aids@...]
> Sent: Thursday, May 13, 1999 9:06 AM
> To: af-aids@...
> Subject:  Millions of dollars lost in expired AIDS drug scam
> Millions of dollars lost in expired AIDS drug scam
> Zimbabwe Financial Gazette
> Thursday 6 May, 1999
> Staff Reporter
> Desperate HIV-positive Zimbabweans and others seeking to boost their
> immunity may be losing millions of dollars annually through a possible
> racket under which an expired drug known to reduce or reverse the
> replication of the deadly virus is being imported into the country with
> false expiry dates, the Financial Gazette learnt this week.
> Thousands of Zimbabweans are understood to be on the drug while there are
> some known cases of people who have already died while using the
> medication, raising suspicions that they may have used the expired
> capsules. Some Harare-based pharmacists said yesterday they were aware of
> the possible racket and had already returned some consignments to the two
> main wholesalers of the drug, popularly known as AZT and whose registered
> brand name is Retrovir. The actual name of the drug is azathiomydine.
> The drug, despite being expensive, is popular in Zimbabwe and, according
> to some pharmacists, total annual sales could be as high as $1 billion. A
> month's course of about 180 capsules costs between $6 000 and $8 000 and
> some patients are known to take the drug for up to three months.
> According to official statistics, one in every 10 Zimbabweans is infected
> with the killer HIV virus which causes AIDS and an average 1 000 lives are
> lost a week through AIDS-related diseases.
> The Financial Gazette was yesterday shown some samples of the drug in
> small bottles which had stickers indicating that the capsules would expire
> in 2002. On peeling the label, there was another underneath which some
> pharmacists said indicated the true expiry date of November 1999.
> "We are not sure where all this is being done but we suspect that the
> anti-viral is expiring in some parts of Europe and countries like South
> Africa, where consumers are more fussy about their medication, and where
> the false expiry date labels are printed en masse and stuck on top of the
> genuine ones," said one Harare pharmacist who did not want to be named.
> Another said: "What is really worrying and is giving away the whole racket
> is that it is known worldwide that the drug has a shelf life of only two
> years, a fact that we have confirmed with the Medicines Control Authority
> here, yet we have consignments which show that the drug will expire in the
> year 2003, some four years away.
> "We have alerted the Medicines Control Authority and taken some samples to
> them but there has been no feedback up to now. We told them about six
> months ago." There are two companies said to be importing the drug into
> the country. When asked for comment yesterday, an official of one of them
> referred this newspaper to yet another firm which he said was responsible
> for the imports. Efforts to get comment from that firm were unsuccessful.
> The Financial Gazette also tried unsuccessfully to get comment from the
> Ministry of Health. Health Minister Timothy Stamps was reported to be in
> meetings all day.
> AZT is one of the drugs used in what is now known as the triple therapy
> for HIV/AIDS, which means that it is used together with two other drugs
> and the cocktail is said to be effective in reducing the multiplication of
> the virus.
> The drug is widely available in Zimbabwe and a snap survey conducted by
> this newspaper in Harare yesterday found that several pharmacies stocked
> (Thanks to the UN Foundation for this lead)
> - A posting from af-aids@...
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