HUMAN VOICE: Abdul Aziz Ajini
One of the ugly faces of the war in Syria is the spread of fraud and unconstitutional drugs both locally made and imported. These drugs do not comply with the local or international standards.
This has become a phenomenon with the absence of a legal strong authority in the areas that have gone out of the control of the central government in Damascus following the defeat of its forces in the these areas.
Chaos has prevailed and there has been no more any legislative, legal or accountable authority. These new conditions have been a chance for those greedy war dealers, who have started manufacturing, smuggling and marketing fraud medicines that are not identical with the constitutional standards.
This problem has been out of interest for those dominating the area on the ground. Therefore, so many illegal drug factories and pharmacies have started their illegal activities manufacturing medical products with the least concern about the technical conditions or safety rules or quality criteria.
Some war dealers started illegally delivering drugs through the borders with neighboring countries. As a result of the chaos prevailing in the liberated areas in the Northern parts of the country. The situation has become even worse with the brain drain when many qualified medical personnel fled the country to escape the war.
This has led to the absence of qualified staff, who could have been able to manage health facilities, pharmacies and drug factories that can produce high quality medicines and medical products. Some medical staff took initiative in these areas.
They desperately started rehabilitation and operation of some hospitals and health centers that were abandoned in the context of the war. It was such an effort by some individuals who lack the least resources and somewhat the necessary experience to run health administrations.
Yet, they started and a tiring journey started with the most difficult circumstances. This was associated with the absence of executive authorities on the ground. Such authorities, if available, would have been very helpful in ensuing the compliance with laws and regulations of drug industry. This phenomenon has become more common to different extents in the northern areas.
Some cases of drug poisoning and drug side effects have been spotted and these cases were the result of using unauthorized drugs of unknown origin. Moreover, some pharmacies have started working without being awarded any license and are not identical with the constitutional standards.
These pharmacies are even managed by unqualified personnel. Thus, civilians have become victims of this chaos and the lack of any monitoring and control mechanisms. A spark of hope glimmers in the middle of this darkness. Some Health Directorates in the liberated areas a have recently started operating a specialized department for drug control and monitoring to deal with this catastrophic situation.
To achieve this goal, a specialized laboratory has been initiated to analyze samples of the drug shipments imported or delivered through Bab Al Hawa Crossing Border, which is the only border gate that links these areas with the outer world. This department is responsible for ensuring the quality of imported drugs.
It is also responsible for follow up on the non-complying pharmacies and closes them in collaboration with the local authorities in the area. Many non-complying drug factories and pharmacies have been spotted and closed.
This pioneer step has got a great impact on the medical system as lifesaving procedures, but it needs more community mobilizing on the part of locals and civil societies and it needs to be supported by interested NGOs and governments of the world.
This is a must, because it can’t be imagined that those who survived the war should be killed by fraud medicines. Really, it is the worst and ugliest aspect of war. This phenomenon represents a complete moral, religious and corruption adding more to the suffering of a people destroyed by war with all its atrocities.