By Chioma Obinna

An independent firm, Anaconda Consultants Limited, has proposed alterations to the draft bill on counterfeit, fake drugs and unwholesome regulated products.

Principal Consultant to Anaconda Consultants Limited, Pharmacist Hashim Ubale Yusufu, at a public hearing, yesterday, in Abuja, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare

Service presented highlights of the proposed alterations to the bill for an Act to repeal the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act CAP C34, Laws of the

Federation of Nigeria 2004 and to make provision for the Prohibition and Control of Counterfeit Medical Products, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods and For Related Matters 2021.

  Yusufu, who is also a Fellow of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN), proposed that the enforcement of the provisions of the Act should be vested in an independent body. “I propose it should be vested in a Task Force to be supervised by the Ministry of Health,” he said.

 The pharmacist said a Director-General, appointed by the President, should head the Task Force.

 Yusufu also proposed that the said Taskforce should have a distinct budget line to guarantee its independence.

  He said the Bill should be focused on Substandard and Falsified Medical Products to accommodate statutory definitions and protocols as contained in international instruments. “Nigeria is signatories to

these international instruments and regulations,” Yusufu said.

 He observed that the scope and definition of substandard and falsified medical products is wider, more comprehensive, and contemporary.

 Yusufu said the recommendations would substantially change the structure and legal framework of dealing with the menace of substandard and falsified medical products. “To aid this honourable

committee, I have also attached and forwarded a re-draft of the Bill, this will give you first idea of the composition, functions, powers, and operations of the Taskforce. It will also guide you in seeing that

there are no areas of conflict with the NAFDAC establishment Act,” he said.

  Yusufu, in a ‘Memorandum on a Bill for an Act to Repeal the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Cap C34 LFN 2004’, urged the Chairman

and Honourable members of the Committee to focus on the World Health Organisation (WHO) work on falsified medical products and to reserve the term ‘counterfeit’ for a falsified medical product with a

counterfeit trademark, in accordance with existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) definitions, and to continue to address falsified medical products as an integral part, within the existing framework,

of standard setting for quality, safety and efficacy.

  Yusufu said the Bill should provide support to WHO African Region (WHO AFRO) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Member States in developing and implementing policies and programmes aimed at combating falsified medical products, including facilitating the exchange of information at the international level and the

development of tools, guidelines, training and awareness initiatives, and methodology for evaluation and monitoring.

The memorandum want the Bill to continue the development and dissemination of independent and timely information on instances of falsified medical products; and to continue to work with Member States, other international organisations and relevant parties in detecting, monitoring and analysing cases of falsification and their impact on public health.

 Yusufu wants the proposed amended Bill to bring together partners from all relevant sectors to work together and promote inter sectoral coordination in order to facilitate better information exchange and

sharing of best practice on public health matters relating to falsified medical products

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