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Pharmacists raise the alarm over upsurge in fake drugs

•Makes case for cancer screening machines

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria has implored  the Federal Government to accord priority to the provision of cancer screening machines in hospitals, medical research centres and health institutions across the country.

Making the appeal in Lagos during a Free Medical Outreach organized for residents of Mosan-Okunola LCDA in Alimosho local government area of Lagos State in partnership with OFRED International Limited, the association, speaking through one of its members, Mrs Nsere Mfon, decried lack of  cancer screening machines which she noted would have prevented some avoidable deaths.

“I urge the Federal Government to take urgent steps to remedy the situation. Some of these ailments which often resulted in Nigerians being flown to India or any other country abroad at the last-minute could have been avoided if cancer screening machines are available. Screening will lead to early detection, and, if there is early detection, treatment would commence immediately. But where you don’t have the machines, the ailments would fester until they become terminal. Today, so many  women are victims of cervical cancer which often  leads  to their deaths because cancer screening machines are not available,” she stated.

In his remarks, the Managing Director, OFRED International Limited, Hon. Fred  Adedeji Oduwole, said the issue of how to curtail the upsurge in fake drugs in the country should be given  attention by the Federal Government.

Oduwole lamented that the economic recession had led to the closure of several local drug manufacturing companies which in turn had led to a surge in the importation of fake drugs.

“The closure of many local drug manufacturing companies has turned Nigeria into a dumping ground for fake drugs. All manner of drugs without adequate check and monitoring are flooding Nigeria markets daily – some of these drugs are killer drugs. Some of them have led to the premature death of many Nigerians while others have been deformed as a result of taking these fake drugs. It is risky and dangerous to take some of these drugs because you don’t know under which condition they were manufactured, you don’t know their quality.

“It is like you are gambling with your life when you take some of these drugs,” he lamented.

While declaring that the best way to stop the ugly trend was for the federal government to initiate policies that will boost the operations of the local drug manufacturers, Oduwole said:

“If these drug manufacturers are here operating in the local environment, it will be easier to monitor them.

It will be easy to monitor the quality of drugs they are manufacturing. It will also be easy to ascertain the quality of drugs end users are taking, but the only way to make this possible is for the federal government to initiate policies to ensure that these local drugs companies operate in a business-friendly environment. One of the way to do this is to give them tax relief and credit facilities at low digit interest rates.”

Appealing to corporate bodies and well-to-do individuals to facilitate similar free medical outreach, Oduwole said:

“From the turn0out we see here today which is very large, we can see that we need to compliment government’s efforts. Again many are indigent, they can’t afford the cost of going for tests for early detection of ailments, some can’t even afford to buy drugs, but when they turn up for free outreach like this, they have access to free drugs, free tests and comprehensive medical check-up.”

In his own remarks, the special guest at the event, Hon. Bisi Yusuf, a member, Lagos State House of Assembly, he commended the Association of Community Pharmacists, and Oduwole for the initiative adding:

“Health is wealth. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation, therefore we can’t afford to toy with any issue relating to our health.”

 

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