By Chioma OBINNA
Hard times await drug counterfeiters with the reactivation of the Federal Task Force on counterfeit and fake drugs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Also, 17 states of the Federation have reactivated their state Task Force.
This is coming on the heels of the recent shutdown of two notorious open drug markets in the country. Director General of NAFDAC, Dr.Paul Orhii, stated that the Task Forces at Federal and state levels would tackle headlong the menace of fake drugs across the country.
Addressing members of the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Dealers (NAPPMED) during a sensitisation workshop organised by NAFDAC in collaboration with Christabel International Limited in Lagos weekend, Orhii who noted that Lagos, Osun and Rivers States Task Force are presently very active implored NAPPMED members to adhere to selling only those medicines in their list of PPMVL.
Speaking through the Director Enforcement, Mrs Ariz Madukwe, Orhii said: “Report anybody manufacturing any regulated product without permit from NAFDAC. Report anybody using potassium bromate as dough enhancer in bread making. Reject hawking drugs or buying from hawkers. Avoid using skin bleaching creams. Shun any deceitful advert of herbal medicines and other regulated products.”
Average incidence of counterfeit medicines in Nigeria was well over 41 per cent from various studies carried out before 2001 and that NAFDAC baseline study in 2002 also showed that 68 per cent of drugs in Nigeria were unregistered.
Head of Enforcement Directorate, NAFDAC, Mr. M.N Garba, said the country could combat the menace of fake drugs and other substandard regulated products through team work.
He noted that economic loss is inevitable when the patients discover that product purchased from patent medicine shops are fake and inefficacious thus leading to loss of confidence and consequently loss of patronage.”National wealth is lost each time these fake drugs are confiscated and destroyed. It worsens of disease condition which might lead to permanent disability or even death.
Counterfeit medicine is a lucrative business but dangerous game because it kills and destroys lives in thousands and under a second.”