Nigeria Reactivates Counterfeit Drug Task Forces

The recent raid in Lagos that saw the closure of more than 1,000 counterfeit drug shops, has spurred Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to reactivate the Federal Task Force on fake and counterfeit drugs.

Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, made the announcement in a recent speech delivered by a fellow official to the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Dealers (NAPPMED), according to The Vanguard. In addition to the Federal Task Force, 17 Nigerian states will reactive task forces of their own.

The NAFDAC’s Director of Enforcement, Ariz Madukwe, delivered the speech prepared by Orhii, and urged the medicine dealers in the office to help in Nigeria’s fight against counterfeit drugs.

“Report anybody manufacturing any regulated product without permit from NAFDAC,” she said. “Report anybody using potassium bromate as dough enhancer in bread making. Reject hawking drugs or buying from hawkers. Avoid using skin bleaching creams. Shun any deceitful advert of herbal medicines and other regulated products.”

In October, the Lagos State Task Force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods reportedly shut down 1,253 illegal outlets that were selling counterfeit
drugs at Idumota, at the Lagos Central Business District (LCBD) on Lagos Island.

The state Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris told the Nigerian Compass said that the counterfeit drug peddlers continually flaunted the law.

“The raids by the men of the state task force on counterfeit, fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods was necessitated by the persistent defiance of government’s stipulated regulation on drug production, importation, manufacture, sales or display for sales, hawking, distribution, adulteration, and possession of drugs by illegal operators,” he told the news source.

This massive operation was, in part, the reason for reactivating the task forces, reports the news source.

M.N Garba, NAFDAC’s Head of Enforcement Directorate, said that cooperation amongst the task forces and other governmental bodies was essential in the fight against counterfeit drugs.

Garba also noted that the counterfeit drug trade harms the lives of thousands of Nigerians every single day.

“National wealth is lost each time these fake drugs are confiscated and destroyed,” he said. “It worsens of disease condition which might lead to permanent disability or even death. Counterfeit medicine is a lucrative business but dangerous game because it kills and destroys lives in thousands and under a second.”