The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has urged Nigerians to buy medicine from only reputable outlets to avoid fake and substandard drugs.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, NAFDAC Director-General, Mojisola Adeyeye also cautioned Nigerians against patronising drug hawkers.
She said that drugs on the street have a high probability of being substandard falsified medicines.
“What I will tell the public is that do not buy medicine except in the pharmacy where you can get a receipt. Does that mean that all pharmacies do not have substandard falsified medicine?
“Sometimes they do because they mix everything up, but at least you will know the pharmacy, not like a hawker. Anybody that buys medicine from a hawker is very likely buying substandard falsified medicine.
”Even if the medicine is right at the beginning by the time they take it round town three to four times under the sun, it will break it down.
“I will encourage our people please buy drugs from the pharmacy where you can get a receipt, where you can go back and say this medicine doesn’t work, I will report to NAFDAC,” she said.
Adeyeye expressed delight that the agency has reduced the percentage of substandard falsified medicine from 17 per cent to 12 per cent.
“I believe we are decreasing substandard falsified medicine. We did a survey towards the end of 2021 and early this year, we went around on our own to sample from different markets and antimalarial. What we got from our laboratory results is about 12 to 13 per cent substandard falsified medicine.
“It used to be 17 when I came and we have decreased it to 12 to 13 per cent which is significant.
“The point is that we are taking steps to ensure that we have a handle on the prevalence of substance falsified medicine.”
The DG disclosed that the agency needs enhanced manpower to be able to discharge its responsibilities effectively, especially for post-marketing surveillance.
“We need a lot of staff. We need twice the number of staff we have right now, especially for post-marketing.
“Nigeria is very peculiar and is surrounded by five countries that are not as strong in their regulatory activities as us.
“And we have to also help the younger ones so that they have a strong regulatory system because if one is weak all is weak.
“So we are doing a lot of interaction among ourselves. We formed a forum of Heads of agencies in West Africa.
“We meet every other month to discuss our challenges and help each other so that everybody will become stronger with time.”