By Abbas Aminu Bamalli
The Federal Government has vowed to sanction any media organisations that continue to advertise un-registered medical products, especially herbalists who continue to claim the discovery of HIV and AIDS cure.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who made this known in Abuja at the inauguration of the re-constituted Federal and states’ Task Forces on counterfeit, fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods, said the ministry will collaborate with the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), to close any Radio or Television that fail to stop.
Prof. Chukwu further said that the availability of manufacturing equipment, bulk pharmaceutical ingredients, digital printing facilities and internet access to previously inaccessible global markets have all combined to make the trade in fake and counterfeit drugs a global and profitable phenomenon.
“Counterfeit and fake drugs may end up on the shelves of local pharmacies and patients may unknowingly purchase a counterfeit from a legitimate retailers, or knowingly purchase at reduced prices through the black market”, he said.
He therefore said it is in consideration of these factors and the need for greater national, regional and international cooperation to combat counterfeit medical products, the Federal Government decided to promulgate the counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods Act to deal with the issue in the country.
In his remark, the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii identified counterfeit drugs as one of the factors responsible for treatment failures and development of drug resistance, saying the scenario has denied patients access to quality medicines and caused untimely death of many innocent citizens.