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NAFDAC calls for stiffer punishment for drug traffickers




National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has revealed that it destroyed counterfeit drugs worth N3.2bn in the past two years.

NAFDAC Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, made this disclosure on Monday, adding that 24 containers of falsified products, mainly Tramadol had also been destroyed by the agency.

Adeyeye said this while speaking at a press briefing held in Abuja to mark the anniversary of her second year in the office.

She decried what she described as light sentences handed peddlers of Tramadol and counterfeit drugs, calling on the judiciary to review the penalties.

“The Agency raided two warehouses located within a residential area in Igbo Amaeze Street, Awada Obosi, Onitsha, Anambra State, where substandard and falsified versions of popular brands of anti-malaria and antibiotics were stored,” she said.

“One hundred and nine cartons of assorted products including Lincocin capsule, Augmentin, Artesunate, Panadol Extra, Cafcol 250mg capsules, Busoopan, Laridox, Postinor 2 tablets, Coartem 20/120, Lofnac (Diclofenac Sodium) and Aldomet were evacuated. Investigation is ongoing to unravel the owners of the products.

“NAFDAC also intercepted a truck conveying substandard and falsified medical products en route Kano. The products are worth about N6m.

“The agency has destroyed substandard and falsified medical products worth more than N3.22bn (in two years). The Agency in conjunction with the Nigeria Customs Service commenced the destruction of seized 24 containers of substandard and falsified medical products, especially Tramadol.”

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Adeyeye noted that NAFDAC staff were always exposed to attack and offer of huge bribes by producers of counterfeit drugs.

She therefore called on the Federal Government to review salaries of NAFDAC workers, saying most of them could not afford decent accommodation in Lagos.

Expressing dissatisfaction with sentences for traffickers she said, “It breaks my heart that a sentence of five years imprisonment or N250,000 fine is given to someone that is trafficking Tramadol that is killing our youths, destroying homes and casting shadows on the future of Nigeria. I am pleading with the judiciary to look at the consequences of narcotic on our homes and review the sentences.

“NAFDAC literarily funds itself; we get little money from the government. We fund our activities through the money that companies pay to get their products reviewed or approved. We have little means but we need the support of international partners to buy devices. The Truscan device cost N15.3 ($50,000) each and we are looking at 100 pieces to be distributed to 36 states.”

The NAFDAC MD said one of the strategic plans of the agency was to reduce substandard and falsified medicines to not more than 5 per cent prevalence in Nigeria by year 2025, saying it was high time Nigeria a new survey on the prevalence.

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