Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has accused China and India of being responsible for the fake drugs being used in Nigeria.
This, NAFDAC said, was because 70 percent of drugs being used in Nigeria are imported from foreign countries, mostly China and India, while only 30 percent are produced locally, Nigeria.
A statement from NAFDAC indicated its Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed the information at a “NAFDAC And Your Health’’, programme in Abuja, as part of activities to mark the 60th independence anniversary of Nigeria.
She announced the agency’s readiness to eliminate substandard and falsified medicines in the country through partnership with pre-shipment agents in China and India.
The move, she added, was part of the agency’s efforts to take the war against importation of illicit drugs to the source countries.
Prof. Adeyeye said: ‘”safeguarding the health of Nigeria means making sure that all regulated products that NAFDAC is in charge of, have the expected quality. This means ensuring robust control of the manufacture, the distribution, the advertisement, the sale and the use of these products using international standards, in line with our mandate.
“Most mported drugs used in Nigeria are from China and India. NAFDAC is now going to the source to ensure that we do pre-shipment analysis. Although pre-shipment analysis had always been there even before but there were loopholes in that process that we have succeeded in blocking.
“I travelled to China and India with few staff last year to meet these agents that were given the responsibility many years back, and the riot act was read to them, and they now understood their roles in making sure that product samples analyzed by them in their home countries are of quality.
“We visited about 19 laboratories across China and India, and gave them the criteria that they must meet before we choose them as laboratories that can be analyzing products that will come to Nigeria,” she said.
She confirmed that both NAFDAC and the agents are now on the same page, adding that Clean Report Inspection Agents (CRIA) now work closely with the laboratories and they have to ensure that the laboratories have the equipment and wherewithal to do the proper and accurate analysis.
She explained that NAFDAC now receives CRIA agents’ reports almost daily on consignments that are suspect, saving the country the huge impact of being turned into a dumping ground for counterfeit medicines.
Meanwhile, a staff of NAFDAC has developed a software that will, expectedly, help the agency to track and monitor ships on the high sea.
NAFDAC boss said the software has assisted the agency in apprehending defaulting importers of falsified medicines at the point of entry in Nigeria.