Nigeria has a Long, Sad History with Counterfeit Drugs

Counterfeit drugs affect every country in the world but few have been as hard hit by the scourge of phony medications like Nigeria.

A number of incidents over the past few decades illustrate the problems the African nation has had with counterfeit drugs.

In 1989, three children died at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) after taking sub-standard chloroquine syrup, an anti-malaria treatment, according to the Nigerian Observer.

The following year, 109 children were killed when they were treated with paracetamol syrup, a common, over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer, that had been made with toxic ethylene glycol solvent instead of propylene glycol.

In 2003, three children died during open-heart surgery at UNTH in part because counterfeit adrenaline was used during the procedure, reports the news source.

These are just three of the reported incidents where people have been harmed by counterfeit drugs in Nigeria. Not only can fake medicine do harm if it is cut with toxic substances, but those that are cut with benign materials can be equally harmful because drug takers may believe they have dealt with their malady and not seek further treatment.