The Ministry of Health has launched a new hotline, 19562, to combat smuggled and counterfeit medicines, a phenomenon that nearly two thirds of Egyptians do not know how to deal with.
The hotline was announced at a press conference, the launch planned after a field study conducted by the ministry proved that 50 per cent of consumers in Egypt do not know the dangers of smuggled drugs, and that only 28 per cent of consumers buy medicines officially registered with the Ministry of Health. According to the study, this percentage should be increased by awareness raising campaigns.
According to Health Ministry official spokesman Abdel-Rahman Shahin, “The consumer must look for the Ministry of Health registration number printed on each bottle of medicine. This number means that the medicine is coming from a safe source; accordingly patients can take it without risking their health.”
The hotline will also receive complaints on the manufacturing, registration and wrapping of different kinds of medicine. “Any citizen will have the right to dial this number with his or her complaint, which will be immediately dealt with through concerned departments of the ministry,” stated Shahin.
According to the field study, 70 per cent of consumers want to avoid counterfeit medicines and yo know how to report them to concerned authorities. The Health Ministry campaign to increase awareness on the issue will last two months.
Madiha Ahmed, manager of the Pharmaceuticals Inspection Department at the Health Ministry, added: “People should inform us when any patient suffers different side-effects than those mentioned in the pamphlet placed inside the box."