November 6, 2022

Weak control system responsible for fake drugs distribution – Stakeholders

Weak control system responsible for fake drugs distribution – Stakeholders

Medical Personnel on Sunday blamed the sale, distribution and consumption of fake drugs in the country on weak and porous control systems.

Those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) pointed at “chaotic’’ distribution networks as another reason why sale of fake drugs had become seemingly permanent in Nigeria.

They noted that at every layer of drug distribution, the rules guiding production and distribution of drugs were never followed.

They advocated for closer monitoring and inspection of manufacturing processes and facilities, especially in offshore drug manufacturing companies, to ensure adherence to strict standards.

Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme, Chief Medical Director at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, also called for close monitoring and inspection of manufacturing plants located within the country.

“Quality assessment and assurance laboratories should be set up in- country to conduct sporadic checks on imported or locally-manufactured drugs.

“Regulatory agencies should also be strengthened while the use of special identification items like holograms and identification numbers which can be activated toll-free should be encouraged,’’ he stated.

Ikpeme also called for an intensive public health education on the dangers of fake drugs.

Similarly, Mr Abraham Idagu, a lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Calabar, stressed that the chaotic drug distribution system facilitated the circulation of fake, counterfeit, substandard, and adulterated drugs.

Idagu noted that ineffective enforcement of existing laws because of corruption also allowed the distribution of fake drugs to continue unabated.

“This system can permit expired drugs to be relabelled; even some drug products without any active pharmaceutical ingredients, to be sold,’’ he said.

He noted also that the Pharmacy Bill recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari would bring the much-needed transformation to the pharmaceutical sector and by extension, the healthcare sector.

“The bill provides the legal framework needed to tackle illegal drug importation and other associated drug challenges.

“It will also strengthen agencies saddled with drug regulation and the enforcement of pharmacy laws,’’ he said.

The lecturer called for a sustainable system that enabled nationwide tracking of drugs from source to final consumption.

“This will be of great importance in curbing the problem.

“The issue of drug manufacturing practices cannot be overemphasised.

“Policies and systems that ensure that drugs are consistently produced according to standards must be designed, maintained and followed, Idagu told NAN. (NAN)