The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health has issued a warning to consumers after it detected more than 400 cases of fake medicines being sold in the Gulf state’s pharmacies.
Out-of-date cosmetics also have been pulled from shelves in recent months, the ministry said in a statement.
Assistant Undersecretary Dr Omar Al-Sayed Omar said authorities had carried out 4,477 inspections and would prosecute pharmacists caught breaching the law.
He urged consumers not to buy from some popular markets, warning that fake pharmaceuticals were often not active, meaning the user did not receive the medical benefits they required, while some caused side effects, including potentially death.
There were 1 million deaths worldwide due to fake or out-of-date medicines, he said. Consumers were urged to read expiry dates and to report any illegal sales.
Gulf countries have become increasingly concerned about smuggled medicines from under-developed markets making their way into the region.
Dubai announced in April it would crackdown on online pharmaceutical traders following a growing number of complaints from consumers that they did not meet public health requirements.
Websites had been allegedly selling invalid consumer products or items already banned by the Dubai Municipality.
However, Head of Public Safety Section at Dubai Municipality, Sultan Al Suwaidi, said consumers “also have to bear the responsibility” and make sure they are not buying faulty goods.
According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated $75bn worth of forged pharmaceuticals were sold worldwide in 2010, an increase of 90 percent from 2005 – meaning earnings from illegal trade was far more than from approved drugs.