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NAFDAC’s fight against fake drugs

The new DG, Dr. Paul Orhii who had lived in the United States for over 17 years promised to introduce modern technology in the fight…

The new DG, Dr. Paul Orhii who had lived in the United States for over 17 years promised to introduce modern technology in the fight against fake drugs. And just recently a new machine was acquired by the agency that would help to detect fake drugs at the nation’s sea port and other entry points in the country. The new device named Truscan equipment can detect fake drugs within few minutes. It is an on-the-spot detector.

As a professional who has been involved in the sale of medicines for many years I commend this new initiative by the NAFDAC Director General. Even though it is true that Nigeria has recorded some giant strides in the fight against fake drugs, the criminals who benefit from the trade have been devising new methods to beat the regulatory agencies. To fight them and stop them NAFDAC has to be more sophisticated and modern in their mode of operation. This is something which is fast defining the operations of NAFDAC at the moment, thanks to the foresight, exposure and experience of the agency’s new helmsman.

The acquisition of the new machine is the talk at the moment among pharmaceutical circles because of the sanity it will help bring to the health sector in the country. And going by newspaper reports they are beginning to serve their purpose. Last week, a consignment of nine packages of fake Lonart – DS anti-malaria drug was intercepted by NAFDAC officials at NAHCO shed, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. The 10,000 sachets of fake Lonart packed in green woven polyethylene sacks concealed within bags and shoes were covered with blankets. The drugs were tested on the spot with the Truscan and found to be fake.

The criminals involved are reported to be already in police net. With the introduction of this machine it appears that the war against fake drugs will get a renewed boost. In today’s modern world, regulatory agencies like NAFDAC have to deploy technology, good planning and vigilance to be able to perform their functions effectively. The era of using muscles or media hypes is over. This is what other similar agencies in the country should learn from the NAFDAC helmsman.

We owe it to ourselves and our children to do our best to make sure we bring some sanity into our nation. The successes of agencies like NAFDAC will send a positive image of Nigeria abroad as a country where law and order reigns. This is practical rebranding. Lastly, I would like to suggest to NAFDAC to ban drugs coming from India and Pakistan into Nigeria because experience has shown these are some of the favourite places where the merchants of fake drugs go to purchase their poison which is sold as medicine to innocent Nigerians. While I commend Dr. Orhii, I will like to urge my fellow Nigerians to shine their eyes.

Salihu Ibrahim, Kaduna

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