Report: US-funded drugs ending up on foreign black markets

YIDA REFUGEE CAMP, SOUTH SUDAN - JULY 5: Rihab Kisa holds her newborn baby girl Jajia, born overnight inside her small hut at the Yida refugee camp along the border with North Sudan July 5, 2012 in Yida, South Sudan. The number of people arriving at the Yida refugee camp increases every day with the current population exceeding 64,000, as refugees continue to flee South Kordofan in North Sudan. Refugees arriving from the North can number between 500 to 1,000 a day and many have experienced long, arduous journeys without food to reach the camp. The rainy season has increased the numbers suffering from diarrhea, severe malnutrition and malaria. Even with refugees having food, there are sanitation issues causing increasing incidents of illness with the field hospitals saying that 95% of all patients are under the age of five. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

As the United States has committed billions of dollars to aid the underdeveloped African nations to fight widespread sickness, one USAID funded initiative has seen over $72 million in free medicine provided to 19 countries since 2011, including $15 million just in 2016.

However, much of the donated drug intended to treat malaria is ending up on the black market instead, according to Judicial Watch, who reported that at least “20% of the American-funded malaria drugs were diverted annually, with a street value of about $60 million.”

Drugs intended to combat the effects of malaria continue to be sent overseas into Africa from the United States, but concerns regarding the theft of the medicine are staggering to new heights.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has gone as far as offering cash rewards for intel into the black market heists, pleading anyone with knowledge of the drug’s disappearance to call “malaria hotlines”.

Following weeks of gathering evidence and pinpointing targets by the USAID and the Guinean National Gendarmerie, proof of the illegal sale of the antimalarial medicine was revealed. Already this year, the USAID Inspector General Ann Calvaresi-Barr made public the arrests of eight individuals selling the drug in Conakry’s open markets.

Calvaresi-Barr insisted such a practice keeps Guineans very much in need of the drug from receiving proper care, and that “profiting illicitly from health programs is especially egregious.”

Bred by mosquitos, malaria is fatal if left without persistent care. The parasitic disease saw an estimated 214 million documented cases in 2015, and of the 0.2% of deaths caused by malaria that year, most were children in Africa according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

H/T: Judicial Watch


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