FIRST AIRED: November 16, 2018

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>> When Moustapha Dieng started suffering from stomach pains he found he couldn't afford the doctor's prescription. Instead he went to the streets of Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou to seek out an unlicensed and more dangerous alternative.>>
> This problem started getting worse in the 1980s, when we started seeing fake drugs being sold on the street. One out of three drugs in Ivory Coast are sold illegally. That means 30% of the drugs in this country are sold illegally.>> But here, like in many other parts of the continent, pharmacies continue to only stock relatively expensive drugs imported from France, rather than cheaper generics from places like India.
But when I went to buy it at the pharmacy, I found it to be too expensive. So I had to buy street drugs because they're much cheaper.>> Within days, the 30-year-old tailor was back in hospital. The drugs he bought were fake and had made his condition deteriorate.
But it could have been worse. According to an EU funded report released on Tuesday, tens of thousands of people in Africa are dying needlessly each year because of fake and counterfeit medication. Most of these bogus drugs come from China. Though they are also made in India, Paraguay, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
And the thriving illicit trade with an estimated value of $30 billion has found a hub in West Africa. The threat has prompted the country, where fake drugs are sold openly, to crack down. An advocacy group, the National Committee Against Trafficking of Fake Drugs, has taken the fight to the streets, holding public talks in some of Abidjan's busiest streets.
Meaning people will continue to gamble their health on drugs from the street.