Open drug markets will be outlawed in Nigeria and shut down by the end of next year, the federal government has said.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, made this known on Monday in Lagos at a workshop organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation on “The prevention, Detection and Response of Substandard and Falsified medical Products.”
According to a report of the event by Thisday newspaper, the minister said the government would introduce coordinated wholesale centres nationwide for distribution of drugs, to check the menace of fake medical products in Nigeria.
Mr. Adewole said the new measure would ensure that drugs are sourced directly from importers or manufacturers and distributed down to the end users instead of having Nigerians continuing buying drugs from the open drug markets.
He said the ministry had developed a National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) in 2012 to address Nigeria’s chaotic drug distribution system.
Mr. Adewole said the “Coordinated Wholesale Centres”, which will accommodate open market medicines sellers, had been approved and are being developed in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano and will commence operation by January 1, 2019.
He said: “Medicine is an important component of healthcare delivery service and without the infusion of medicines; the health care service delivery system of a nation is sterile.
“A good-quality medicine supply system is essential for healthcare delivery. There is a special need to prevent therapeutic drug falsification in order to safeguard against health and maintain trust in healthcare system. The overall scale of trading in medicine and the resultant harm done to global health has not been adequately accessed,” he said.
In his remarks at the workshop, the acting Director General of NAFDAC, Ademola Mogbojuri, noted that the public health implications of substandard and falsified medical products include treatment failure, high treatment cost, development of resistance, loss of confidence in the healthcare providers and healthcare system and may ultimately, result in fatality and death.
Mr. Mogbojuri who noted that the problem has become a serious threat to global public health, said the fight against the menace requires a sustained action by both governmental and non-governmental bodies.
While noting that single and isolated interventions cannot address the issue of substandard falsified medical products, he called for coordinated actions with international organisations to reduce the menae to the barest minimum .