Fake drugs have been in the news again with a fresh alert. There have been global crackdown by INTERPOL the international criminal investigation organization that has resulted in N16.3 billion counterfeit drugs seized in 116 countries across the world and 156 arrested.
The NAFDAC (the national agency for food and drug administration) is crusading for the establishment of an organized body such as International Convention on Fake Drugs so that nations could collaborate to arrest the criminals involved in fake drugs. This is similar to the ones set up for counterfeit money and for tobacco.
Technologies such as Text Messaging System and Tuscan had helped reduce the fake drugs by 64% in 2008, and 6.4% in 2011, according to Abubaker Jimoh’s the NAFDAC’s Director for Special Duties statement based on World Health Organization’s research on Africa. In Nigeria the drugs that are most counterfeited are antibiotics and antimalarial.
According to the global estimates, most fake drugs that were captured were erectile dysfunction tablets, harmful slimming pills, unlicensed foreign medicines, fake condoms, and narcolepsy remedies. UK’s healthcare regulatory agency revealed that £15.8 million worth fake drugs were seized in a global crackdown. The operation was initiated by INTERPOL from June 9 to 16.
The operation aimed at websites that were offering fake and unlicensed products and such sites were suspended. The list of drugs that were apprehended included cures for asthma, breast cancer, erectile dysfunction, depression, weight loss, painkillers, analgesics, insomnia, diabetes, skin lightening, anti–inflammatory, anxiety, hair loss and many others.
There were closedowns of 1,380 websites in the UK operation of which 339 were local based sites. According to NAFDAC’s Director for Special Duties Nigeria is at the forefront in the fake drugs market and now it is a global issue.