When a country is large and porous, keeping fake drugs out of the country isn’t as effective as keeping them out of the marketplace with new anti-counterfeit technology, reports Dr. Paul Orhii, of Nigeria.

When a country is large and porous, keeping fake drugs out of the country isn’t as effective as keeping them out of the marketplace with new anti-counterfeit technology, reports Dr. Paul Orhii, of Nigeria.

As illicit narcotics distributors in the US, Nigeria and Mexico figure out that counterfeit medicine trade is less risky, they are diverting resources and expanding, says Dr. Paul Orhii, Director General of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Vice-Chair of the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force.

Dr. Orhii, speaking at the sixth Global Forum on Pharmaceutical Anti-Counterfeiting in London, said that countries like Nigeria with large geographic areas, borders with multiple countries, and a large population are difficult for regulatory agencies to patrol.

Drug counterfeiters target common medications that are used in large volumes and for public health concerns. Given the ease with which complex printing can be done portably and routinely, identifying fake drugs by packaging alone is nearly impossible, he said.

The porous land borders and large pharmaceutical market have made Nigeria a target for drug counterfeiters and a “dumping group for spurious products,” reported The Nation.

In order to insure public health and authentic medications, NAFDAC has implemented anti-counterfeit technologies that have become important tools in the fight against fake drugs. NAFDAC has employed a multi-layered approach to detection based upon the latest anti-counterfeiting tools.

Other speakers of note at the Global Forum were Bejon Misra of Partnership for Safe Medicines India, and Patrick Lukulay, of US Pharmacopeia.

By S. Imber