According to the World Health Organization, counterfeit and sub-standard medicines represent an enormous public health challenge. These products can range from random mixtures of harmful toxic substances to inactive, useless preparations. Counterfeiting is greatest in those regions where the regulatory and legal oversight is weakest. Many countries in Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America have areas where more that 30% of the medicines on sale can be counterfeit.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria has recently taken action to help ensure that the public has access to safe medicines.
NAFDAC blacklists 22 Indian pharmaceutical firms
Written by Chinyere Amalu
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has blacklisted and banned 22 Indian pharmaceutical companies from exportation, importation and distribution of drugs in Nigeria.
The agency has also banned 40 drugs that are in circulation in Nigeria from being used, saying the names on the labels are fake and the agency cannot guarantee their safety and efficacy.
Announcing this yesterday in Abuja when the UNICEF Country Representative Suomi Sakai visited her, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili, said in 2003, the agency banned some Chinese pharmaceutical companies.
Some of the affected Indian companies are Medicare Pharma Ltd, O’Nell Pharma and Healthcare Ltd, Food and Pharma Ltd, Sep Pharmacy Ltd, Nexus Pharma Ltd, M/S Sanchuks Global Associates Ltd, M/S Tmoore Int’l Co. Nig. Ltd, Empree Medicament (1) Pvt among others.
Among the 40 Drugs that have also been banned from being used in the country are; MD-Artesunate Tablets, Artecare tablets, Careluther injection, Amoxmentin tablets, Erican-MG Cream, Vagitab, MD-Artesunate Syrup etc.
According to Akunyili who commended UNICEF for making breast-feeding initiative successful in Nigeria, the blacklisted companies and banned drugs takes immediate effect.
“NAFDAC hereby informs the general public that the underlisted Indian pharmaceutical companies have been blacklisted from the exportation, importation and distribution of drugs in Nigeria.
“We have also discovered that the 40 drugs that have been banned from being used in the country are fake. We noticed that the NAFDAC numbers on the labels are fake. What they do is to copy other companyies’ numbers.
“The agency is therefore warning the public not to buy or consume any of these drugs, irrespective of the manufacturer’s name on the label because NAFDAC cannot guarantee their safety and efficacy”, she stated.
Professor Akunyili, however, noted that the success Nigeria has recorded in its breast-feeding initiatives was as a result of UNICEF Baby friendly initiative.
“Today as the result of the initiative, anti-baby dirrhoea drugs have disappeared from pharmaceutical stores in Nigeria”, she added.
Earlier in her remarks, the Country Representative of UNICE, Suomi Sakai said her visit is to seek way of improving the existing partnership with UNICEF and NAFDAC.
According to her, we want to ensure that every Nigerian child gets products that are essential for their growth and development.