The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has refuted the claim that 70 per cent of pharmaceutical products circulating in Nigeria are fake.
The agency said the claim is not evidenced-based and has no scientific proof. He said such claim can also scare foreigners and make both Nigerians and non-Nigerians lose confidence in the country’s health system.
The agency’s stance was made by its Director Special Duties, Abubakar Jimoh, while addressing journalists on Saturday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Financial Services Advisory Leader and Chief Economist, Project Blue PWc Nigeria, Andrew Nevin, said at least 70 per cent of pharmaceutical products circulating in Nigeria are fake.
He said this while delivering a keynote address at the 90th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, in Umuahia, Abia State.
He, however, did not quote the source of his findings.
In his reaction, Mr. Jimoh said, “Our attention at NAFDAC has been drawn to a newspaper report citing a representation by an expert (so to say) alleging that there are over 70 per cent fake and counterfeit drugs in circulation in the Nigerian market. That 70 per cent of all drugs circulating in Nigeria and Africa are counterfeit.
“I don’t know where the man drew that statement from because it was not referred to any study that was carried out. It was just one of the careless statements that people just say carelessly either under the guise of making a sensational news or I don’t know what he wants to achieve by that.
“Ordinarily, we don’t respond to such statement but since he described himself as an expert and that he is coming from outside the country, we believe that we have to take it seriously so that our people will not be misinformed,” Mr. Jimoh said.
“Such assertion is a great disservice to Nigeria and it tends to undermine the efforts NAFDAC and other agencies are making in the fight against counterfeit medicines in the country.”
The official said there are scientific proofs that indicate that there is a downward trend in the circulation of fake and substandard pharmaceutical products in the country.
He recalled that in 2001, when the former Director General of NAFDAC, late Dora Akunyili, came on board, there was controversy surrounding the volume of fake drugs in Nigeria.
“We then approached the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005 and we carried out what we called a joint baseline study on all category of drugs which was sponsored by the WHO in Nigeria. The result of that national survey showed that the level of fake drugs in the country was in the neighbourhood of 16.7 per cent.
“In 2012, NAFDAC then carried out a survey for all category of medicines using the Truscan nationwide and the outcome showed that the 16.7 per cent we got in 2005 has gone down to 6.4 per cent.
“We decided to do a survey to determine the circulation of fake Anti-Malaria medicines alone also in 2012 and we got 19.6 per cent.
“In 2014, another national survey on the circulation of fake Anti-Malaria by United States (US) Pharmacopeia was conducted and the result was 3.6 per cent.
“We are mopping up all fake medicines from the system. We have evidence both research- wise and scientifically speaking to show that there has been a downward slide in the circulation of fake and counterfeit products in the country,” Mr. Jimoh said.