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Worried by the growing public health implications of substandard and fake medical products, experts have called for concerted efforts to curb the trend which they said has become a global threat.

For this reason the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Commission (NAFDAC) in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) organised a five-day workshop in Lagos, with the aim of developing a national strategy on the prevention, detection and response to substandard and counterfeit medical products across the country.

In his address at the workshop, Mr. Ademola Mogbojuri, the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, lamented that the consequences of substandard and falsified medical products are dire.

At the event tagged; “The prevention, Detection and Response of Substandard and Falsified medical Products,” Mogbojuri insisted that the fight against the nefarious act requires sustained action by both governmental and non-governmental bodies.

The Acting Director-General’s position came on the heels of Federal Government’s decision to introduce drug Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) to check the menace of fake and falsified medical products in the country.

Mogbojuri threw his weight on the federal government’s warning to all open drug markets to be permanently shut by December 31, 2018. According to him, CWC will check public health hazards of fake and falsified medical products which include treatment failure, high treatment cost, development of resistance, loss of confidence in the healthcare providers and healthcare system and may ultimately, result in fatality and death.

Stating that single and isolated interventions cannot address the issue of substandard falsified medical products, he called for coordinated actions with international organisations to reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of the ugly menace.

The Acting Director-General noted that WHO established member states mechanism on substandard, spurious falsely labelled, falsified and counterfeit medical products following its resolution 65:19 in May, 2012 to promote public health, and access to affordable, safe, efficacious and quality medical product, across the globe.

Speaking earlier at the occasion, Prof Isaac Adewole, the minister of health, said that the Federal Government had concluded plans to introduce drug Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) to check the menace of fake and falsified medical products in the country.

CWCs were designed to allow drugs to be sourced directly from the importers or manufacturers down to the end users. Under the new measure end users will no longer buy drugs from the open drug markets, Prof Adewole explained..

According to him, the federal ministry of health developed the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) in 2012, to address the unsatisfactory chaotic drug distribution system of the country..

He said; “Coordinated Wholesale Centres to accommodate open market medicines sellers have been approved and are being developed in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano and CWCs will commence operation by January 1, 2019.”

Adewole observed that medicine is an important component of healthcare delivery service and without the infusion of medicines; the health care service delivery system of a nation is sterile.

“A good-quality medicine supply system is essential for healthcare delivery. There is a special need to prevent therapeutic drug falsification in order to safeguard against health and maintain trust in healthcare system.

“The overall scale of trading in medicine and the resultant harm done to global health has not been adequately accessed..”

Declaring the workshop open, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who noted that the number of lives lost as a result of substandard medical product in the market was alarming blamed the unacceptable situation to weakness of regulatory bodies charged with the responsibility of nipping the act in the bud.

Ambode said the capacity building workshop on prevention, detection and response to substandard and falsified medical products would improve the effectiveness of measures that have been put in place to achieve these objectives.

He said: “It is important to emphasise that this fight must be holistic in terms of participation by all relevant government agencies including custom service standard organisation of Nigeria and the Nigeria police among others.

“Our efforts must also focus on identifying the sources of these products with a view to ensuring that they do not find their way into the market.”

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