Dodgy doctors and con men have been selling fake coronavirus cures in Ghana, many of which contain dangerous levels of bacteria and mold, revealed a new BBC documentary.
There is currently no recognized cure for the COVID-19 coronavirus, but this has not stopped people across the world promoting a range of unproven medicines and drugs as treatments.
In Ghana, the BBC’s investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas exposed two quack doctors – men who illegally sell fake coronavirus cures – who had illegally promoted an unregistered drug as a cure.
“This medicine doesn’t need trials because we know the potency of our medicine,” Dr. Abdellah told Anas, who was posing undercover, before selling him three bottles of his product.
Dr. Abdellah and his brother later reached out to the BBC reporters and tried to sell him over $25,000 for over 100 “cures.”
The BBC reporter instead took the drugs to the Ghana Standards Authority, which identified them as unregistered and found that they had dangerous levels of bacteria and mold in them.
A deadly problem
The case is just one in a much wider problem of fake treatments and medicines across the African continent – many of which can be deadly.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 100,000 people die every year from fake medicines on the African continent.
In May, it was revealed that Madagascar has been exporting a herbal tonic that authorities have claimed is a cure for COVID-19 to countries across the African continent.
The unproven herbal drink, which the Madagascan government launched after testing it on fewer than 20 people according to a BBC report, was distributed to school children in the country in May.
It has also been exported abroad, to Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria, where the office of President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed he had received samples of the tonic.
My position regarding all herbal or traditional medicines is that any such formulations should be sent to the statutory regulators for thorough scientific verification. We will not put anything to use in Nigeria without the endorsement of our regulatory institutions.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) May 16, 2020
Outside of Africa, US President Donald Trump attracted controversy by endorsing the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, despite health officials warning it had not been proven to have any positive remedial affects for coronavirus patients.
While we are searching for #COVID19 treatments we must continue strong efforts to prevent as many infections as possible by finding, isolating, testing and caring for every case; and tracing and quarantining every contact.— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) June 17, 2020