Against the backdrop of $200 billion worth of counterfeit drugs in circulation worldwide, Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii has appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO), Developed countries and stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry across the globe to actively support the proposed Member-States Mechanism for combating Substandard, Spurious, Falsely-Labeled, Falsified and Counterfeit medical products.
Dr. Orhii made the appeal in his capacity as Chairman of one of the sessions of the 5-day 15th International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) held in Tallin, Estonia.
He said the international community should consider the menace of counterfeit drugs from strictly public health perspective and therefore join forces in tackling the problem as a global challenge not just an issue for developing countries.
The International Collaboration against drug counterfeiting, he explained, should include information sharing, intelligence gathering monitoring and surveillance, developing new tools of detecting, preventing and controlling counterfeits as well as capacity building.
According to him, NAFDAC is currently spearheading local and international collaboration against drug counterfeiting particularly within Sub-Saharan Africa in addition to other well coordinated and multifaceted strategies to combat the problem.
Dr. Orhii observed that the devastating health effects of counterfeit drugs do not require VISA to cross borders from one country to another because of globalization thus underscoring continuous collaboration and networking among nations.
The Director-General commended the thought provoking presentation by Head of Drug Control Board of Sierra Leone, Mr. Johnson Wiltshire and other speakers from over 100 Countries who participated at the ICDRA Conference.
Earlier, Mr. Wiltshire praised the leading role of the Director-General (NAFDAC) Dr. Orhii has played in the deployment of new cutting-edge technologies like TRUSCAN, Mobile Authentication Services and Radio Frequency Identification System to fight drug counterfeiting.
The Sierra Leonea Drug Control Boss called on the WHO and developed nations to offer financial assistance to less developed countries who are major victims of drug counterfeiting because they lack the needed fund to procure the much needed cutting-edge technologies like TRUSCAN and Deep Infrared (Black Eye).
Mean while, the Agency again restated its avowed commitment to the fight against the incidence of “hidden hunger” in the country, while receiving the I-Check equipment for testing of iodine in salt donated by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Micronutrient Initiative (MI).
Dr. Orhii said non-iodized salt constitutes a serious health challenge on the mental development of children and other devastating consequences occasioned by iodine deficiency disorders.
He stated that if the country must remain competitive on the global economic stage, then its child population must be safeguarded from all forms of iodine deficiency disorders, IDD.
While pledging the commitment of the agency to strict monitoring of all distribution and retail outlets to ensure compliance to Universal Salt Iodization (USI) standards, Dr. Orhii expressed appreciation to the Canadian government through MI and GAIN for the gesture and promised to show accountability in the use of the equipment.