UAE, July 1, 2017- The Ministry of Health and Prevention has unveiled the state-of-the-art TruScan RM Analyzer, a modern technology used to detect counterfeit or low-quality drugs posing great health threats to the community. The high-tech device is especially helpful to patients suffering from chronic diseases, ED, heart ailment, and cancer, as part of its ongoing commitment to provide universal health coverage and social protection for all individuals. The TruScan RM analyzer also enables drug inspection teams in the country to make informed and timely decisions concerning the release of all drug shipments entering the UAE.
UAE's proactive and precautionary measures
H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, the Ministry's Assistant Undersecretary for Public Policy and Licensing, said the country has been fighting the spread of counterfeit medicines in the local market by implementing preventive measures, building a quality control laboratory, and conducting research on medical and other health products. The country's relevant policies also aim to empower domestic drug inspectors and authorities responsible for the release of medicines in ports and airports and post offices at the country level and border crossings.
Rollout of counterfeit drug detector in all ports and 4 devices are currently in use
Ministry-employed pharmacists stationed in land, air, and seaports are presently using the TruScan RM Analyzer. The Ministry is planning to roll out the device in all local ports as it moves to employ more drug inspectors to prevent counterfeit and low-quality medicines from being distributed across the UAE. He also pointed out that the devices were distributed between Abu Dhabi Airport and Abu Dhabi Post and the border ports in Al Ain and Dubai International Airport.
Reduction in chemical exposure and lesser laboratory costs
According to H.E. Dr. Al Amiri, the device performs accurate, reliable, and rapid verification of a broad range of chemical compounds. Significant information is stored in the device's database to be used to identify and verify samples. Weighing less than 900 grams, TruScan is easy to carry and use and it gives clear results in seconds depending on Raman radiation. Further, through the device, inspectors can examine the chemicals without the risk of contamination and exposure, while minimizing costly laboratory sampling tests.
H.E. Dr. Al Amiri disclosed that the Ministry will organize workshops and training programs for drug inspectors, as well as build an up-to-date medicine database – from locally registered veterinary to human drugs – to guarantee proper device usage.
Accreditation of international bodies and pharmaceutical firms
Many international organizations are currently using TruScan RM Analyzer. These include the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Saudi Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), the UK Medicines and Health Care Products Agency (MHRA), in addition to pharmaceutical companies Sanofi, Novartis, Merck, and Pfizer, among others. The distribution of counterfeit drugs may greatly impact the world's medicine system and may lead to loss of public confidence in the international healthcare sector. The World Customs Organization (WCO) has placed the value of counterfeit medicines at USD 200 billion a year globally.
Intensive campaign vs fake drugs
The Ministry of Health and Prevention has been issuing weekly and monthly circulars to warn people against counterfeit medicines. It assured that a robust system is in place to closely monitor all pharmaceutical products entering the country. Additionally, the Ministry said it keeps abreast of the latest warnings being issued by concerned international bodies. The UAE has become one of the world's leading countries that are fighting the distribution of fake medicines, according to the reports of international organizations, including the Uppsala Medical Monitoring Center of the World Health Organization.