Trafficking in Medical Products in the Sahel

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This report explores trafficking in medical products in the Sahel by looking at the nature of the market, the provenance and transit of medical products, the main actors involved, and the impact of this form of trafficking on the region. In the Sahel countries and their neighbours, the high prevalence of infectious diseases, including malaria, coupled with challenges in terms of the availability and affordability of and access to healthcare, creates an environment in which the demand for medical products and services is not fully met through formal channels. The disparity between the demand for and supply of regulated pharmaceutical products leaves room for trafficking, provides an incentive for the involvement of organized criminal groups and fuels the ongoing threat to public safety and public health in the Sahel countries. Between January 2017 and December 2021, at least 605 tons of different medical products were seized in West Africa during international operations.


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