The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has destroyed counterfeit drugs and vaccines, cosmetics, and expired food items worth over N2 billion.
This is in line with the agency’s strategy aimed at eradicating fake drugs and other spurious regulated products from circulation in the country.
The exercise took place in Kano and Awka in Anambra State; when the operatives of the NAFDAC combed the nooks and crannies of three geo-political zones of the federation- the North West, South East and the South-South to mop up expired drugs and unwholesome food products.
While counterfeit drugs and spurious food products worth over N1.4billion seized from both the South East and South-South zones were destroyed in Awka, Anambra State, similar dangerous drugs, and unwholesome food items worth N613m were destroyed at the Kalebawa dumpsite along Kazaure-Daura road, Dambatta, Kano.
The NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye however, warns that henceforth, there is no hiding place for the merchants of death who derive joy in the unpatriotic act of circulating expired and falsified drugs and food products that are inimical to public health across the country.
Prof. Adeyeye said the destruction was part of the efforts to rid Nigerian market of unwholesome products and engender public confidence.
Represented by Barrister Kingsley Ejiofor, the Director of Investigation and Enforcement in the Agency, Prof. Adeyeye said that the fake products were seized by the operatives of the agency during various operations in the zones, stressing that other operatives of the agency are all over the country sniffing around to apprehend others who are still in the deadly business.
Prof. Adeyeye listed the products to include substandard, fake, falsely labelled medicines, unwholesome processed food products and cosmetics seized from manufacturers, distributors, and importers.
In a statement by NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday, the director general disclosed that the expired drugs were handed over voluntarily by complaint companies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Trade Unions, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria PSN and National Association of Proprietary and Patent Medicines Dealers NAPPMED.
She said others were those confiscated by Customs Service but violated, unregistered drugs, improperly stored vaccines, and tramadol, adding that the list also included Rohypinol intercepted on Benin-Asaba Expressway and other fake medicinal products intercepted at different times.
‘’The estimated value of the products destroyed in Kano is N613,300,290.00 while fake products worth N1,429,580,683.00 were destroyed in Awka, Anambra State, totalling N2,042,880,973.00,” she said.
According to her, the products include drugs such as antibiotics, antihypertensive, antimalarial, herbal remedies, psychoactive, controlled substance.
‘’Food products such as spaghetti, vegetable oil, non-alcoholic beverages, sachet water, Chocolates, Noodles, etc. were also destroyed as well as cosmetics such as creams, pomade, and insecticides’’, she added.
According to her, the destruction of the dangerous products would eliminate the risk of their reintroduction into the market, noting that drug counterfeit is an act of economic sabotage and pose serious threat to public health.
The Kano State Commissioner for Environment, Dr Kabiru Ibrahim-Getso, commended NAFDAC for its campaign to check circulation of fake and substandard products in the state, while he also pledged continued government support to the Agency to enable it to achieve its mandate.
Also, the Chairman, Medical Section of Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha, Mr Boniface Muonurikpe, described the public destruction of the dangerous products in Awka as a welcome development.
Muonurikpe said the market associations were willing to work with NAFDAC to ensure that only genuine products were sold to the end-users, stressing that the activities of fakers had robbed Nigerian markets of public confidence.