The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has debunked insinuation that 70 per cent of medicines in Nigeria are fake, saying only 17 per cent of drugs are substandard.
Speaking in Lagos, the NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, said the report was false, as NAFDAC has done much to ensure that only standard medicines, drugs and food come into the country.
“NAFDAC does a lot of work in terms of monitoring to ensure that substandard medicines do not find their way into Nigeria,” she said.
Adeyeye said a study jointly carried out by NAFDAC, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department for International Development (DFID) in 2005 revealed that fake medicines in Nigeria stood at 17 per cent as against 40 per cent in 2001.
She further claimed that a survey conducted by NAFDAC in 2017 and 2018 on some widely used drugs showed that Nigerian medicines were 98 per cent wholesome.
Adeyeye said: “I am an advocate of locally produce drugs. I am for local manufacturing and therefore support that we depend more in our local drugs. I am working with the National Drug Policy to see that 30 per cent of drugs are imported while 70 per cent locally manufactured drugs is achieved.
“The reason is simple. There is need for drug security, safety and also, because our children do not have jobs. Local manufacturing will provide jobs opportunity.”
While adding that the national survey on quality of medicines using Truscan device was conducted by NAFDAC across 29 states and the FCT from January 2010 to April 2012, she said: “We also use mini lab to conduct test and one mini lab costs about $50 and the agency needs about eight, which if acquired, will be distributed to states. So, NAFDAC is partnering with Global Steering Committee to bring this to reality.
“The report of the survey on quality of essential medicines, like antibiotics, anti-malarial, anti-diabetics medicines conducted as at March 2019 by NAFDAC, in collaboration with National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), National Supply Chain Management Programme (NSCMP) and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), shows that about 98.7 per cent passed quality tests while 1.3 per cent is substandard.”
On his part, past president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ahmed Yakasi, said the report that 70 per cent of drugs in Nigeria are fake was misrepresentation of the position of a keynote address speaker, Dr. Andrew Nevin, at the 91st Annual National Conference of PSN held in Umuahia, Abia State in 2017.
He said: “Instead of writing 17 per cent, they presented the fake one. We are worried that the same erroneous figure is resurfacing again.
“NAFDAC is already the leading drug regulatory agency in Africa and the achievements of the agency in the last years has led to improved confidence in made-in-Nigeria pharmaceutical products in Africa.”