Siem Reap (FN), Aug. 29 – Defence minister Tea Banh, a representative of Prime Minister Hun Sen stated the issues of counterfeit and substandard medicines are spreading alarmingly both in the region and the world, addressing at the opening ceremony of the 14th ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting on 29 August 2019 in Siem Reap.

"Counterfeit and substandard drugs pose great risks to health, social safety, and impedes economic growth,” minister Banh stated, adding: “those drugs are a serious challenge that all ASEAN Member States must urgently address, for they can cause severe disease, endanger lives, and waste money.”

Noting that the drug-quality control mechanism is not effective, and the public awareness on counterfeit medicines is limited, minster Tea Banh hopes that the meeting will formulate mechanisms and action plans in combating counterfeit and substandard medicines to integrate into the agenda of the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting in 2020 hosted by Cambodia.

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”.