By Chioma Obinna
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, yesterday, claimed that most fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs sold in the open drug market in Nigeria were smuggled into the country from China.
Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, who announced this at a briefing in Lagos, where a suspected importer of counterfeit drugs, Mr. Olisaemeka Osefoh, was paraded, said China had remained a problem to Nigeria in the fight against fake and substandard products.
Orhii explained that already Nigeria was collaborating with the Chinese Government to unravel the Chinese companies behind the fake production, and punish them accordingly.
He said: “India has tried to collaborate with Nigeria maximally on strategies to reduce the importation of counterfeit medicines to the country.
“But concerning China, we are still trying to work out how to collaborate with each other. For now, without fear of contradiction, I will say that China remains the highest exporter of these fake products and China is a problem to Nigeria.”
Announcing the arrest of Osefoh for importation of counterfeit drugs worth N106, 210,000.00 from China, he said the suspect had already given NAFDAC investigators information on how the products where illegally cleared through Tin Can Island Port, Lagos.
Orhii explained that the suspect was arrested following a tip off after which operatives from NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate raided a warehouse located at Progressive Traders Market known for the sales of jewelries and cosmetic products within Trade Fair Complex, Badagry Expressway, Lagos.
“The counterfeit medicines have been sampled against the suspect and he will be prosecuted as soon as investigation is concluded”, he said.
According to him, the Agency was working closely with the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria to track down the company in China who connived with the suspect to ship into the country the counterfeit medicines.
The Director-General noted that the recent discovery had revealed that drug counterfeiters now operated from markets dealing on other commodities and that “there will be no sacred cow in the fight against counterfeit medicines; any counterfeiter arrested will be prosecuted according to the law of the land.
The agency is appealing to members of the public, landlords and market unions to report any suspicious activity relating to NAFDAC regulated products around their community to the nearest NAFDAC office for immediate action and see it as part of their contribution in the fight against counterfeit and fake products.”
Some of the counterfeit medicines discovered and impounded are skineal cream, funbact- A cream, Neurogesic ointment, Rough Rider condom, Iman luxury powder and heal balm.