EYEAFRICA TV: Abuja, Nigeria: Nigerian experts have called for government crackdown on counterfeit drugs, as a shocking 40 percent of medicines sold in Africa are reported to be either fake or substandard.
The World Health Organization says that 900,000 Africans die every year due to counterfeit or faulty drugs.
The problem is prevalent in Nigeria, the most populous nation on the continent. Experts are urging the government to take action on the issue.
The circulation of fake and untested drugs on the streets of Nigeria is rising, despite government efforts to combat a growing trend of it for many years.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) destroyed fake drugs across the country with a street value of 13 million U.S. dollars in 2018 alone.
These kinds of drugs, experts say, have an enormous impact on the health of consumers.
“Fake drugs are not properly manufactured, you find out they may contain toxic or not so good impurities that would be harmful, carcinogenic, causing cancer to people that take it for other reasons. A tablet may have an overdosage of a particular item to a toxic level, so the bad effect ranges from disability to death,” said Charles Mebrim, pharmacist.
President Muhammadu Buhari closed the country’s borders in August last year to curb the proliferation of counterfeit products including fake drugs.
However, certified vendors in Nigeria say it’s time for the government to step up its measures in regulating sales and distribution of drugs in the country.
“The best way to get across this problem is to control drug distribution, discourage open drug market which is the major portal for distributing drugs in Nigeria, getting a central drug distribution system, national and state distribution system then to the province, and the individual shops or pharmaceutical premises and hospitals can lift their drugs from the province where they find themselves,” said Mebrim.
Mebrim suggested that for now, purchasing and verifying drugs from only accredited outlets could be the only hope for consumers in Nigeria.