September 21, 2016 – Importation Of Fake Drugs Into Nigeria: Many Lives At Risk As NAFDAC Falls For Counterfeiters
The Fight Against Counterfeit Drug In Nigeria, An Opinion Article By Popular Commentator Endure
Many Nigerians have been left to carry the burden of their ailments for years due to the use of counterfeit drugs. Compounding the peril is the resulting deaths that comes from the consistent use of counterfeit drugs among many sick patients both at home and in the hospitals across the country.
Many of these fake drugs have managed to infiltrates the Nigerian markets due to the greedy activities of some unscrupulous medical drug dealers and the let down of guard by our custom agencies manning the seaports and the land borders.
This illegal business has become so lucrative that many selfish business men have made billions of naira out of it without the second thought of the bad effect on their users.
Further putting the lives of Nigerians at greater risk through the use of fake drugs, many selfish business men have bribed their way out of the claws of our custom officers at their respective sea and land border posts.
Due to the lapses on the part of our custom agencies, many of the fake drugs are now strewn and prevalent not just in the market but among some reputable hospitals in the country. And once these drugs find their way into the market, it then becomes a matter of choice for users.
Heart breaking is also the fact that many of the doctors and pharmacists have these counterfeit drugs in their various medical facilities ready to be prescribed to their patients.
Some pharmacists will even notify their patients based on the availability of both the fake and original drugs with their different price tags.
In these horrible instances, patients are often left to make choices between purchasing the fake and the original drugs. Most times, patients who can’t afford the price of the original drugs end up buying inferior drugs with dangerous side effect after use.
Sometimes many of these counterfeit drugs have been bought in the markets unknowingly by sick patients without the desired result after use and some of them leading to more complications in the patient’s health.
As a result of the deliberate importation of these drugs and its proliferation in the market due to corrupt practices of custom agencies, many lives have been been lost.
Serving as the backbone to our custom agencies in matters related to importation of fake medical drugs, the “National Agency for Food And Drug Administration Control” NAFDAC have been entrusted by the federal Government with the task of fishing out fake and substandard drugs in the market.
Dora Akunyili former director general of NAFDAC popularized the war against counterfeit drugs that in less than four years of been in saddle, most Nigerians became conscious of expiration dates and checking out for NAFDAC approval numbers especially on imported products but after her departure from the office in 2008 following her appointment as minister of information by the late president Umaru Musa Yar’adua, the NAFDAC agency is now close to becoming nemesis for drug counterfeiters in Nigeria.
We have barely seen good performances from this agency.
The he lives of many Nigerians is at greater risk due to absence of excellent performance from the NAFDAC agency.
The federal government should save lives by making necessary examination of those appointed to handle these vital posts to see if they are not compromising in their integrity in the course of discharging their duties.
As it is today, the NAFDAC agency only have the power to carry out raids, seize fake products, carry out public bonfires, close down and reopen markets believed to be hubs for fake drugs.
But the fact is, this action is not enough to tackle this growing menace.
At the same time, such action is not a sustainable model for dealing with fake drugs in the country.
The existing laws condemning this act is like a slap in the palm which only embolden the criminals to go back to business as soon as the fine is paid.
The federal government should pass a tougher law that will increase the penalty of any offender caught in the inhumane business.
Counterfeit drugs is a formidable enemy that should be fought vigorously by the federal government.
On this note, the federal government should also invest more in modern laboratory equipment ,product scanners, recruitment and training of personnels.
The organisation should ensure they demonstrate sufficient seriousness in terms of addressing legal impediment affecting smooth prosecution of the war against fake drugs merchants in the country.
We must make our drug distribution system a close monitoring circle with high level of scrutiny by participants and close monitoring of the existing players within the system, all of whom must be known to the authority.
There must be zero-tolerance for deviation from this close-circle model.
Big unstructured markets where the merchants responsible for the illegal importation of fake drugs should be visited across the country by the agency.
The federal government should rise against counterfeit drugs in the country. The lives of many Nigerians is at stake, and unless important steps are taken to curtail this menace, we will continue to witness the destructive repercussion of our inaction.
Article written by ENDURE