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Reps summon health minister over fake, counterfeit medicines bill

The House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services has summoned the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, over the ministry’s inability to make submission on…

The House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services has summoned the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, over the ministry’s inability to make submission on the fake and counterfeit medicines bill. 

The chairman of the committee, Tanko Sununu, said this yesterday in Abuja at the public hearing on a bill for an act to repeal the counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods (miscellaneous provisions) act cap c34, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004; and to make provisions for the prohibition and control of counterfeit medical products, fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods and for related matters 2021. 

The bill was sponsored by Tanko Sununu and Samuel Babatunde Adejare. 

Sununu said, “We are trying to find solutions to the many challenges in the health sector, and the ministry that is in charge of that responsibility did not see the urgency in it to make its position known to the general public. On that note, we still look forward in the next 24 hours to get the position of the ministry on that particular bill; otherwise, whatever the recommendations of the general public, we will take it.

“The minister is, therefore, to appear before the committee on Tuesday by 11 am to explain what he has done in protecting the country from the menace of fake drugs and also to make their presentation.” 

Pharmacist Hashim Ubale Yusufu, a past chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs, said the enforcement of the provisions of the act should be vested in an independent body. 

He explained that the bill on counterfeit and fake drugs was meant to reduce to the barest minimum, the circulation of substandard counterfeit medicine or medical products in Nigeria. 

The president, Nigeria Medical Association, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, said that while his association supported the bill, it suggests amendment to the proposed Section 8 as it relates to the constitution of the national and states committees respectively to include a representative of the medical practitioners, which shall be appointed by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).