NAFDAC officials were surrounded and threatened by drug traders while raiding a pharmaceutical marketplace with a masked informant in Nigeria.

Three suspected fake medicine sellers were apprehended by authorities with their wares by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) however the majority of suspects had emptied their shops prior to the raid, limiting the usefulness of the raid, reports the Nigerian Sun newspaper.

The raid ended abruptly when pharmaceutical sellers surged at the NAFDAC officials and the masked informant, threatening to unmask him.  Policemen, protecting the informant, retreated to their vehicles, with only three suspects and their wares in tow.

The suspected wares are first tested on the scene with a rugged handheld rama spectrometer, before being tested throughly in the NAFDAC anti-counterfeiting laboratory.  

NAFDAC Deputy Director in-charge of Public Relations and Protocol, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh who led the officials to the market in what he tagged “Operation Intelligence Surveillance,” said the action was part of NAFDAC’s new method of silent surveillance to stamp out fake drugs as well as being ahead in the game against the drug counterfeiters.

According to Jimoh, “This is also part of our routine surveillance in our concerted efforts to rid the country of fake and counterfeit drugs and we are using the Tru-Scan machine to detect some of the fakes before taking them to our laboratory for tests.”

Dr. Paul Orhii, Director General of NAFDAC said recently in a visit to the Unilever head office in Lagos that Nigeria has been boosting its fight against counterfeiters.  "So far, we have brought the Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFIT) to Nigeria that would easily assist in detecting counterfeits goods and products. We are also negotiating with international players to make sure that the cost of getting this technology is cheaper so that it can be readily available as we strive to wipe out counterfeits completely in our environment."

Reported the Daily Independent, Orhii continued, "Apart form that, we have also equipped some of our laboratories with modern equipment. Some of these include time scan, hand held device that enable you to discover fake products easily."

By S. Imber