October 15, 2009
Agence France-Presse examines Adjegounle, the "drugs" district in Benin. Although some are able to support their families by selling drugs at "street pharmacies," a minimum of "250 deaths and 340 cases of chronic illnesses linked to such drugs were recorded between April 2007 and June 2008," according to a medical thesis, the news service writes. "Counterfeit medicine networks have been accused of taking advantage of poor or non-existent drug regulatory systems in Africa -- and elsewhere -- to dump drugs with little or no active ingredient in the continent," AFP writes, noting that the government has had a difficult time curbing the informal industry. France's former president Jacques Chirac recently launched an initiative that aims to raise "awareness among political leaders around the world to work against the proliferation of such fake pharmaceuticals" (Vidjingninou, 10/15).