Manufactures of anti malaria and antibiotics drugs in the country have been given up to July this year to emboss on their products scratch and text mobile authentication signs.
According to the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Paul Orhii during an enlightenment programme at the Palace of Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, the deadline would be strictly adhered to save the lives of many innocent Nigerians from fake drugs.
Orhii who said that the agency would not relent in its quest at waging ceaseless war against counterfeits drugs and foods in the country, added that it had in the last six and a half years destroyed fake drugs and food valued at N30 billion.
He added that the deadline for malaria in the country was initially extended in order to accommodate the readiness of some anti biotics just as he pledged a sustained full implementation of the malaria programme.
Orhii said, “the deadline for malaria has not been extended. We are already fully implementing the malaria programme. The deadline was extended for some anti-biotics but it expires in June this year. After that we will make sure that we fully enforce it. Almost all antibiotics are covered.
“All manufacturers of antibiotics and anti-malaria drugs by July this year should have their products with the scratch and text mobile authentication on them so that consumers can scratch, text and authenticate the medicines before the buy them.” He added, “the advantage of the scratch card is that it is difficult to fake the medicine. So far we have not found anybody who has successfully faked medicine that have the scratch card on it.
If we use the scratch method, we have the opportunity to completely eradicate counterfeit medicine in our system. “I want to tell you that this method of handheld device or true scan can help identify if the medicine is fake or has expired because once it expires and the content has changed, you know the chemical composition is not the same with what we approve originally so it will fail.”
The NAFDAC boss blamed the recent death of about 18 people at Ode Irele in Ondo State on the consumption of methanol. He said the agency has commenced rigorous public enlightenment against it. “We have been conducting mass awareness campaigns to tell people not to patronize this illicit gin. It was the consumption of illicit gin that caused the deaths because the gin they consumed contained methanol instead of the common ethanol that people consume.
We are warning members of the public not to patronize these products. They are not approved by NAFDAC. They have not been evaluated. So if you take them, you are taking a risk..”
In his remark, the Ilorin monarch said, “l commend NAFDAC boss for his commitment and effectiveness in addressing fake drugs in Nigeria. From what you have said this afternoon, I pray the almighty God to make it a success and it will be an innovation.
I will do all I can do to promote the benefit of the campaign to the people of my domain and Kwara State and by extension, the whole country. He added , “With NAFDAC, things we did not know, we now know. Our eyes are opened.
This machine can detect fake or true drugs. I hope it will also be extended to cover expired drugs because most of the drugs advertised in Nigeria get expired drugs from Europe before being brought to Nigeria.
That is why you have fake drugs. I hope you can get the same machine that detects expired drug. Expired drug is even more dangerous than fake drug.”
Dignitaries at the event were Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian American Agricultural Empowerment program, Chief Temitope Ajayi: President, Project Fix Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Kowontan; Director, Administration and Human Resources Management, NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni; and Kwara State Director, NAFDAC Mrs. Bolaji Abayomi, among others.
Published: on May 5, 2015. By Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin.
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