Sustaining War On Fake Drugs

FROM available information, drug management and control has been very disappointing in Nigeria. Before the establishment of the National Agency for Drug and Food Control (NAFDAC), Nigerians knew very little of the magnitude that drug counterfeiting in the country and the inherent dangers had assumed.
The advent of NAFDAC opened the eyes of Nigerians to this ugly situation. Yet, the circulation of fake drugs has not subsided despite the dogged war that NAFDAC waged on the perpetrators of the illicit trade. Instead of reducing, reports indicate that the counterfeit trade is on the increase.
In developed nations, drugs are not hawked in the streets or traded across the counter. Those who breach the law don’t go unpunished.
Nigeria has laws that forbid the display of drugs but the laws are not enforced by the relevant authorities. This has given room to the sale of fake drugs of all kinds with claims that they cure all types of ailments. In the process, so many lives have been lost in mysterious circumstances due to either under-dose or over-dose of drugs, most of which are taken without prescription.
It is, therefore, a welcome development when recently Mr. Linus Awute announced that regulating agencies including the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Control would commence the ban of sales of drugs in the open market.
According to Awute, the decision was taken because drug distribution system in Nigeria has been chaotic and has resulted in the circulation of counterfeit drugs in the country.
We commend the Federal Government and the Health ministry for taking the bold and courageous step that would help stamp out this devious deed prevalent across the country, considering the negative impact it has posed to the healthcare delivery system.
It is, however, gratifying that Anambra State which is notorious in the drug scam has set the pace in the fight against fake drugs by setting up measures to check the spread of counterfeit drugs. We call on other states of the federation to emulate the Anambra example. With such follow up, we believe that the war on fake and adulterated drugs would be won in a record time.
We will not conclude on this issue without paying tribute to the late Prof Dora Akunyeli who fought gallantly to put the fake drugs under check and almost lost her life in the process. Posterity will continue to remember her.
Although, she is now gone, we urge the living to continue with the fight against the illicit trade. This will show that this committed patriot who championed the war on fake drugs did not died in vain.
In adddition to other measures taken to stamp out illitict drugs trade in the open markets, the authorities should also put a check on the advertisement of some categories of drugs. The question really is, why does our law enforcement agents watch helplessly as the drug merchants perpetrate the havoc? What about the agents of death who go undetected as they cross the check-points? We call for a change in our attitude to profit making. Our attitude to mercantilism is the basis of whatever is happening in the drug business.
Above all, we call for the intensification of the drug war on all fronts.