Fake Viagra, birth control pills flood T&T market

By Geisha Kowlessar
Fake erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and birth control pill are among the growing list of bogus pharmaceuticals which are now popular in T&T.

This was revealed by Dave Cording, Crime Stoppers International consultant, at the launch of the organisation’s Illicit Trade Project held at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce at Westmoorings yesterday.

Cording said among the five bogus items being peddled in the Caribbean were tobacco, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, clothing and fuel.

In T&T the illicit trade of cigarettes has been on the increase since 2015, with this now accounting for 20 per cent of the market as just over a billion illicit cigarette sticks enter this country’s market annually, Cording said.

Describing the illicit trade as a “significant issue which needs to be tackled collectively,” he said.

“What’s inside the Viagra isn’t necessarily going to give you your desire and they harm you in the long term. I know of a slimming pill that was taken and the individual here, in T&T, instead spent eight days in the hospital.

“This is organised crime. It isn’t just some entrepreneurial individual down the road.”

Cording said simultaneously legitimate businesses were being undermined and consumers in affected countries were exposed to unregulated, poorly made, inferior quality products which resulted in serious negative health effects.

He said raising prices was not necessarily the answer as this could simply push the consumer “more” towards the fake product.

Cording said he was particularly heartened that members of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security visited the Port of Port-of-Spain last Friday and were “deeply concerned” as to why an electronic scanner commissioned since 2014 was not being used.

Cording, who said one of the “great sources” of illicit goods was via shipping containers, added, “It would be nice to see those scanners in use.”

Director of Crime Stoppers Darren Carmichael said Crime Stoppers International has recognised that illicit trade was an international problem that was funding major criminal activity worldwide.(Trinidad Guardian)

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