Siem Reap (FN), Aug. 29 – At the opening ceremony of the 14th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting on 29 August 2019 in Siem Reap, defence minister Tea Banh, a representative of Prime Minister Hun Sen, addressed that: “counterfeit and substandard drugs are a serious challenge that all ASEAN Member States must urgently address. Those drugs can cause severe disease, endanger lives, and waste money.

The minister added that the counterfeit and substandard medicines are spreading alarmingly, both in the region and in the world; they are bought and sold online without proper sources and registrations.

He also noted that the drug-quality control mechanism is not effective, and the public awareness on counterfeit medicines is limited.

The 14th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings, held from 26-30 August 2019 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, focuses on four key topics, including (1) combating counterfeit and substandard drugs; (2) ensuring health care financing; (3) strengthening the capacity to implement the international health regulations of World Health Organization; and (4) innovations in health care strengthening.

The meeting is held every two years in a rotating manner, consisting of: (a) ASEAN Health Officers’ Meeting, ASEAN+ 3 and ASEAN-China, and (b) ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting, ASEAN + 3 and ASEAN-China, under the theme “Promoting Health of ASEAN People”.