By Chinyere Amalu
ABUJA â€”Â National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has inaugurated federal taskforce to combat fake and counterfeit drugs in the country
Fake and counterfeit drugs have been blamed for treatment failure and development of drug resistance. It has also created unfavourable business environment for manufacturing, importers and health care providers.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, which has, in attendance, representatives of Inspector-General of Police, Controller-General of Immigration, and Customs, among others, Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, said the days for drug counterfeiters were numbered.
According to Orhii, the inauguration of the Federal Taskforce is aimed at revamping its activities as an additional strategy in the fight against drug counterfeit and also to address â€œthe yearnings of our trade associations for a very long time.
â€œBoth the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria,PSN; Association of Food and Tobacco Employees, AFBTE; Crop Life Nigeria, etc. have on several occasions in the past called for the establishment of the Federal Task Force as part of effort to deal with the problem of fake and counterfeit products from our distribution system.
â€œThe Federal Task Force will also address one of the goals of National Drug Policy, NDP, which is â€œto make available at all times to the Nigerian populace adequate supplies of drugs that are effective, affordable, safe and of good quality.â€
Terms of reference for the Task force include: overall responsibility for enforcing the provisions of Decree 25 of 1999, which include; co-ordinating the activities of the state taskforce; directing and monitoring the activities of the state taskforce; paying unscheduled visits to all ports of entry and boarder posts.
Others are: powers to enter at any reasonable time (if need be by force) any premises in which there is reason to believe that the provisions of this decree are being contravened and examining any article found therein; shall have power to seal off any premises used or being used in connection with any offence under this decreeâ€.
Orhii further explained that the taskforce intervention would not only strengthen the agencyâ€™s enforcement activities at state level, but also â€œconsolidate such efforts as well as provide an opportunity for relevant stakeholders in the food and drug sector to exercise various roles in fighting drug counterfeit.â€