• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Drug hawkers risk jail term – NAFDAC warns

How international exposure has given NAFDAC’s Moji Adeyeye an edge over the management of regulatory processes and falsified medicines’ vendors

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned drug hawkers to desist from their illegal act or risk arrest and prosecution.

Moji Adeyeye, the director-general of NAFDAC, gave the warning at the Southwest zonal media sensitisation workshop on the danger of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide, held in Ibadan, Oyo State, at the weekend.

Represented by Patrick Omokpariola, director of chemical evaluation and research, Adeyeye restated the resolve of the agency to eradicate the illicit trade, saying that no offender would be spared from the full wrath of the law. She said that enforcement officers of the agency were carrying out synchronised nationwide operations to clamp down on offenders.

The NAFDAC boss explained that drugs were sensitive life-saving commodities that should not be sold on the streets, motor parks, or open market like any other article of trade.

According to her, “Many drug hawkers are knowingly or unknowingly merchants of death who expose essential and life-saving medicines to the vagaries of inclement weather which degrade the active ingredients of the medicine and turn them to poisons thus endangering human lives.

‘Most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-literate drug hawkers are counterfeit, substandard or expired, and therefore, do not meet the quality, safety and efficacy requirement of regulated medicines.

“Prescription drugs are also sold by the itinerant drug hawkers who also hold a consultation, recommend and prescribe medicines to their gullible “patients”.

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“Drug Hawkers are also the major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and armed robbers. Drug hawkers constitute a serious threat to our national security.”

Speaking on artificial fruit ripening, Adeyeye said NAFDAC has commissioned a scientific study on the best approach towards mitigating the health hazards posed by ripening of fruits with carbides.

She stated that consumption of fruit ripened with calcium carbide may cause cancer, heart, kidney and liver failure, thirst, irritation in mouth and nose, weakness, permanent skin damage, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting, skin ulcer and so forth adding that higher exposure may cause undesired fluid build-up in lungs (pulmonary oedema).

She, however, expressed confidence in winning the war against these two hydra-headed public health menaces.

Also speaking, Christiana Obiazikwor, head of the public relations unit, Lagos, urged the media to help the agency disseminate the information to the public in order to help the people know the imminent health hazards of buying drugs from unprofessional and eating fruits ripened with calcium carbide.