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Proliferation of fake drugs: Pharmacists call for national emergency

By Sola Ogundipe
THE Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has raised alarm over the proliferation of fake and substandard drugs in the country and is calling on President Umar Yar’Adua to declare a national emergency in the nation’s drug industry in the interest of national wellbeing and security.

The Society also tasked the Federal Government to step up its battle against drug counterfeiting by instituting a formal protest to China and India – the two countries known to be at the forefront in the exportation of generic drugs to Nigeria.

Expressing alarm at the upsurge of fake, adulterated and substandard drugs in the open market in recent times, PSN National President, Pharm Anthony Akhimien, urged the President to back up the proposed national emergency with a high-powered judicial commission of enquiry to institute a probe into the continuing importation and faking of products in the country.

“The issue of drug matters border on national security and as a concerned government, we cannot watch while the health of Nigerians is trifled with as a result of bombardment of fake drugs on the market.”
Calling for reconstitution of the Board of the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN) and NAFDAC, Akhimien said
only such move would enable the respective bodies carry out their statutory roles.
Responding to a report in which two antimalarial drugs – Maloxine and Amalar were purportedly banned, he noted that while the case of Maloxine was justifiable, there were no issues with Amalar.

“We are satisfied that Amalar should still be in circulation as none of our registered distributors have been found with the adulterated drug. From available facts, NAFDAC has never alerted stakeholders and the public of any safety or quality inclined problem and till date Amalar had not been deregistered by NAFDAC.”

Noting that the process of proscription of Maloxine and Amalar was unscientific, the PSN President avowed that no tests were carried out to justify the alleged proscription.

“As a responsible professional body, we have a moral obligation to ensure that ethics and standards are maintained by pharmacists in the discharge of their duties.”


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