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Published January 18, 2022 / Public health

Falsified medicines: 2022-2024 outlook for the Lomé Initiative


On the second anniversary of the Lomé Initiative, spearheaded by Brazzaville Foundation and launched by six African heads of state at the Lomé Summit on January 18, 2020, we invite you to take stock of the actions undertaken in 2021 and the results expected in 2022.

The coronavirus pandemic of the last two years has had a drastic impact on the healthcare sector. In this period of global health crisis the risks of trafficking counterfeit drugs are heightenedThe growing number of counterfeit medicines, particularly due to the proliferation of crime organised, underlines the need for African countries to join the Lomé Initiative. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, touted for their benefits against Covid-19, are being sold by criminal gangs on the African continent. In March 2021, Interpol, theorganisation international criminal police organization, dismantled an international criminal network counterfeiting Covid-19 vaccines from South Africa and China.

Strengthened institutional partnerships

On March 10 in Niamey, Richard Amalvy, Chief Executive of the Brazzaville Foundation, met with Mr. Ahmet Boto, then Minister of Health of Niger, and Dr. Barira Dan Nouhou, Director of Pharmacy, to discuss the implementation ofthe Lomé Initiative in Niger.


On April 21, 2021, The Gambia announced its intention to join the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Niger, Uganda, Senegal and Togo as a signatory to the Lomé Initiative following a meeting between H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of Gambia and Mr. Jean-Yves Ollivier in Banjul, Gambia. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea Bissau have also expressed their intention to join the Initiative.


On 29 April, WHO expressed its support for the Lomé Initiative and the Brazzaville Foundation's programme fight against fake medicines in a letter signed by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Chief Executive of WHO, addressed to Jean-Yves Ollivier, Founding Chairman, and Richard Amalvy, Chief Executive.


On 21 May, Prof. Mijiyawa, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene of the Republic of Togo, Jean-Louis Bruguière, former anti-terrorist judge and Advisory Board Member of the Foundation, and Richard Amalvy spoke atside event at the 30th Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ)organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).


On 26 May, the Brazzaville Foundation was granted observer status with the Committee of the Parties to the MEDICRIME conventionConvention, developed by the Council of Europe to strengthen the criminalization of trafficking of falsified medicines at the global level. This observer role is part of the programme fight carried out by the Lomé Initiative, which aims to have its signatory countries join the convention. On 2 December, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the MEDICRIME convention, the Brazzaville Foundation presented the achievements and future actions of the Lomé Initiative to the Committee of Parties. The Foundation invited the Committee of the Parties and observers to take part in the review of the legislative audit to be conducted in 2020 and 2021 to take stock of legislation to combat trafficking of counterfeit medicines at the national level, and to initiate a comparative study of these legislations in order to harmonize them at the international level.


On July 17, in Geneva, Richard Amalvy and Michel Sidibé, the African Union's Special Envoy for the African Medicines Agency (AMA), held fruitful exchanges on progress towards the creation of the agency, supported by the signatory states of the Lomé Initiative. Ratification of international treaties is part of the Lomé Initiative's arsenal, including the African Medicines Agency. Supported by the African Union and its Special Envoy Michel Sidibé, the treaty creating the agency came into force on November 5, 2021.


July 30, 2021 in Brazzaville, Mr Gilbert Mokoki, Minister of Health and Population of the Republic of Congo, received in audience Mr Richard AmalvyChief Executive of Brazzaville Foundation to discuss international and national progress on the Lomé Initiative against counterfeit and substandard medicines.

A contribution to the World Health Assembly

As a contribution to the 74th World Health Assembly on 25 May 2021, the Brazzaville Foundation organised hosted a high-level online roundtable discussion "Covid-19 and the Growing Risks of Substandard and Falsified Pharmaceuticals in Africa: A Public Health and Safety Issue." The roundtable brought together high-level stakeholders to develop a review and recommendations that were forwarded to the World Health Assembly presidency and to Chief Executive . 

In 2022, the Brazzaville Foundation will continue to support Lomé Initiative signatory countries through a coordinated programme 2022-2024 that includes the development and implementation of national plans to combat falsified and substandard medicines. These plans require:


- Set up inter-ministerial mechanisms to ensure the rigorous application of new criminal legislation at national level and improve cooperation between states;

- Create regulatory and supervisory processes and need qualified people with integrity to implement and maintain them;

- Devising ways of setting up production units at national level, in conjunction with players in the pharmaceutical industry;

- Evaluate the success of programme and adjust the strategy in line with national specificities and feedback.


The national plans will focus on three complementary areas of action:


- Public health;

- Safety ;

- The rule of law.


Partners in the development and implementation of national plans are public and private decision-makers representing a wide variety of professions and functions in the pharmaceutical supply chain:


- Security forces and customs ;

- Professional orders in the health and legal professions;

- Pharmaceutical industry representatives ;

- Hospital, health center and pharmacy managers.


The priority targets are :

- Women who are both buyers and sellers of falsified medicines;

- Young people with the ability to change buying behavior.


The Togolese Republic, political coordinator of the initiative, the Brazzaville Foundation and the five other countries (Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Uganda) will continue their efforts to convince other African states to join the Lomé Initiative to reduce this scourge.