To combat the pervasive issue of fake drugs and unwholesome products in the Nigerian market, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has revealed four ways for consumers to identify fake drugs and other products.fake drugs and other products.
Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General of NAFDAC disclosed these measures on Tuesday amidst growing social media outrage against fake drug manufacturers and sellers of substandard food and beverages.
Counterfeit medicines, as described by the World Health Organisation (WHO), have severe consequences on human health, often failing to properly treat diseases and leading to serious health implications, including death.
The global health body estimates that over 280,000 children die annually because of taking falsified or substandard medicines as treatment for pneumonia and malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
To empower the public in detecting fake and adulterated drugs, food, drinks or alcohol. Adeyeye highlighted the “4 Ps”:
The place of medicine purchase is the first P. The NAFDAC DG emphasised the need for consumers to patronise only NAFDAC-registered drug and food products from reputable and licensed pharmacies, retailers, bars, and supermarkets.
The second P, according to the NAFDAC DG was price. She urged consumers to be cautious of products sold significantly below normal prices or without proper taxes, as they might be fake
The third P is Packaging. Adeyeye urged consumers to always inspect for poor-quality packaging, spelling mistakes, and unusual bottle shapes. In addition, consumers shoud also check for the manufacturer’s contact information and address.
Adeyeye listed Product, as the last P, Shw cautioned consumers to beware of unpleasant smells, as products smelling like paint stripper or nail polish remover may be unsafe.
Adeyeye, therefore called on the 10th National Assembly to expedite the review of penalties against counterfeiting. She argued that imposing stiff penalties, without the option of a fine, would serve as a deterrent to perpetrators engaged in illicit trades.
The DG assured that the NAFDAC stands resolute against a campaign of calumny launched by those seeking profit at the expense of citizens’ well-being.
She said the recent exposure of a cartel involved in the production of fake wines and soft drinks in Aba, Abia State, underscores the gravity of the situation.
Expressing dismay at uncomplimentary commentaries in the media, particularly regarding the interception of counterfeiters in Eziukwu Market, Aba, Adeyeye emphasized NAFDAC’s commitment to tackling such issues. She stated that the agency would not be deterred by unfounded allegations, urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities.
Adeyeye disclosed that officers from the Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance Directorates have been empowered to apprehend those involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit drugs and substandard food items.
Despite facing numerous life-threatening encounters and attacks on NAFDAC officers, Adeyeye assured that the agency remains undeterred in its mission to safeguard the health of Nigerians. She urged citizens to assist by providing useful information on the activities of counterfeiters.