Dear Neil and friends, I'm currently volunteering in a big non-for-profithospital, 'somewhere' in Africa.
After finding several drugs-commercial leaflets around and posters glued on the walls of same kind, I was told that drugs informants do come in to thehospital, give a 'lecture' on their products and pay with cash each doctorattending, less than 4 euro each.
I do not comment, however I must say that I feel a sincere sense of disgust and worry. I found in the ward leaflets advertising 'probiotics for diarrhoea'. A day will come that children with diarrhoea will be prescribed expensive probiotics, poor families will pay for it.
Africa is becoming the next eldorado for pharma companies. After seen saturation of market in rich countries they now direct attention to Africa. They easily penetrate in a milieu of poverty and little/nil policies on drugs, i.e importation/promotion/prescribing and selling.
I request attention from HIFA and WHO.
Poor deserve respect and not exploitation.
Massimo Serventi is a long-standing Pediatrician working in Africa since 1982. He currently works on a volunteer basis in an excellent missionary/credited hospital in north Uganda, St. Mary's Hospital-Lacor-GULU. He has worked for several NGOs in 6 African/2 Asian countries. His interests include clinical and community pediatrics, adherence to clinical guidelines and school education as the major determinant of good health.