Incidentally, the parley that has brought together the main stakeholders in the drug distribution and use community is being organized by the watchdog body supposed to oversee drug quality – the National Drug Quality Control and valuation Laboratory, LANACOME. For many Cameroonians the existence of such a control laboratory has only been made known with the organization of the forum because, for all too long, the distribution of drugs has virtually been abandoned to quacks with government intervention hardly ever seen or even if it was, there was very small impact.
That probably explains why various initiatives taken to fight street drugs, usually of doubtful origin, have always flopped. The phenomenon of street drugs continues to thrive, often, as it is sometimes said, with the complicity of some public authorities because in many cases, public hospitals and health centres reportedly get their supplies from the street, making the process of dismounting these illegal street drug vendors very complicated indeed.
Another important issue government must address and as a matter of the utmost urgency is to determine what is a fake drug and what is not; because too often again, it is difficult to make a distinction because of packaging and the difficulty of going to a laboratory to determine the chemical composition of a drug. It is even said that some of the drugs sold by the wayside are actually subtracted from official government allocations destined for hospitals or health centres and are therefore not actually bad.
But they may become bad on account of their poor handling usually due to exposure which may lead to their degeneration. In this kind of setting when it becomes even difficult to say whether a drug is good or bad, the importance of the National Drug Quality Control and Valuation Laboratory becomes very evident. It is highly hoped that at the end of the current Yaounde forum, LANACOME will take full possession of its mission of effectively controlling and stamping all drugs before they are considered for sale and, consequently for human consumption.