The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says Nigeria’s population has made drug counterfeiting lucrative.
The Director General, Dr Paul Orhii said this at a stakeholders meeting held with the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Pharmacopeia in Abuja.
Orhii, who was represented by the Director, Drugs, Research and Evaluation, Mrs Hauwa Keri, said that NAFDAC as a regulatory agency was still faced with the challenge of drug counterfeiting.
He said counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products, and may include products with the correct ingredients with the wrong ingredients without active ingredients or otherwise, stressing that Nigeria, with a large population, heavy disease burden, good market size, and low production capacity, vast and porous borders is a prime target for counterfeiters of medicine.
“These drugs are used in high volume for managing diseases of public health interest such as anti-malarial, antibiotics, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic agents as well as life-style drugs,” he said.
He said that the agency had adopted a multifaceted and well coordinated strategy to ensure access to quality medicine.
“The Pharmaceutical Security Institute data estimates that drug counterfeiting is a 75 billion dollar-business, while the World Customs Service puts it at 200 billion dollars annually. “
Orhii said that with the advent of globalisation, international collaboration and cooperation was necessary in fighting drug counterfeiting to a halt.
He said that NAFDAC was working tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry got World Health Organisation’s prequalification, for easy access to medicines that met unified standard of quality.