About 17 per cent of drugs circulating in Nigeria are fake, says Andrew Nevin, the Financial Services Advisory Leader and Chief Economist, Project Blue, PWC Nigeria.
Mr. Nevin said this in his keynote address at the opening of the 90th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in Umuahia, the Abia capital.
According to him, Africa records at least 100,000 deaths, arising from fake drug-related ailments, annually.
He, therefore, underscored the need for the federal government, National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and other relevant agencies to intensify the war agianst fake and counterfeit drugs in the country.
“This will go a long way in reducing the harmful effects of the menace on the citizenry and the nation’s economy.”
Mr. Nevin expressed delight that Nigeria had achieved “significant progress” in reducing sexually transmitted diseases and infant mortality.
He, however, expressed concern that Nigeria’s population had been on a steady rise while its Gross Domestic Product is on the downward trend.
In his speech to declare the week-long event open, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu also tasked NAFDAC to check the perceived abuse in the certification of traditional medicines.
Mr. Ikpeazu called on the agency to withdraw “its stamp of authority from all producers herbal medicines that it cannot vouch for their efficacy.
“I am worried at the use of herbal drugs. NAFDAC has not helped matters also.
“It is amazing to see different concoctions with label from NAFDAC and to an average Nigerian, once you see NAFDAC number on a product, it means a seal of authority.”
He appealed to the federal government to regulate the importation of drugs as a means of encouraging indigenous pharmaceutical firms.
He also urged drug manufacturers in the country to take steps to make their products affordable to the ordinary Nigerian.
In an address of welcome, the National President of PSN, Ahmed Yakasai, said that the association had embarked on an advocacy for the local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.
Mr. Yakasai, however, underscored the need for governments at all levels to create the enabling environment for the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria to thrive, stressing that “PSN believes in Nigeria-made medicines.”
He mentioned the donation of drugs worth over N50 million to Internally Displaced Persons in the North-east, among others, as some of the key achievements of the association under his watch.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that major highlights of the conference were the conferment of awards to some eminent Nigerians, including Ikpeazu, the unveiling of new products and products exhibition.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The headline and first paragraph of this story has been edited to accurately reflect the 17 per cent fake drugs mentioned by Mr. Nevin in his presentation. The error from the news service is regretted.