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Community pharmacists raise alarm over proliferation of fake medicines

By Chioma Obinna

Community Pharmacists have raised the alarm that despite the multiple deployment of cutting edge technologies by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, proliferation of fake and counterfeit medicines have continued unabated.

The community pharmacists under the auspices of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Lagos State Branch argued that unless relevant regulatory agencies lived up to expectation and summon the political courage to deal with the situation Nigerians will still be exposed to the dangers of fake and counterfeit medicines.

NAFDAC DG, Paul Orhi.
NAFDAC DG, Paul Orhi.

In his address during its general meeting in Lagos, the outgoing Lagos State Chairman of the Association, Pharm. Aminu Abudulsalam-Yinka traced the reason why sale of fake medicines have continued in the country on the fact that there are already-made markets for them all over Nigeria.

Abudulsalam-Yinka implored the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN and NAFDAC to close ranks and recognise all the illegal medicine out lets as potential stockist of fake and counterfeit medicines and deal with them according to the laws.

“This level of irrational medicines distribution is unhealthy for our healthcare delivery system. We are hoping that the National Drug Distribution Guidelines will address sales of medicines in unapproved places across the country when fully implemented.” Continuing, the chairman also lamented that the Mobile Authentication Service, MAS, has become a big problem to their members due to its negative messages even when the drugs are purchased from the producers.

The outgoing Chairman who declared that the association may take legal action against the producers of the failed MAS imprinted products to save the businesses and face of their members said: “Despite the fact that we all know that MAS is far from being a panacea for faking and counterfeiting, dogmatism is the order of the day where insincerity self interest and promotion predominates. Reports are still being received on the failure of MAS and the associated embarrassment since MAS came out.”

Charging incoming government to critically look at what the law says about sales of medicines in Nigeria and audit the various relevant regulatory agencies, he said: “New government should ensure that the agencies that are responsible to do this job are supervised to do the job.

“If those laws are enforced then the environment will be clean up and we will have serious reduction in the level of proliferation of fake and counterfeit medicines. Government should look at the laws and ensure that those regulatory bodies responsible to carry out the laws do carry it out.

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