Discussing the issue that is currently impeding the health sector and the well-being of the country’s people, which is the sales of fake drugs that have become what appears to be a permanent phenomenon in Nigeria, its reasons can be attributed to “chaotic” distribution systems. Medical professionals who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) placed the blame for the sale, distribution, and consumption of counterfeit drugs in the country on control systems that were inadequate and easily avoided.
The medical personnel made the observation that the guidelines for the production and distribution of medications were never adhered to at any level of the distribution chain for drugs, even including those that are at the lowest levels of the chain. Therefore, they advocated for more strict monitoring and supervision of production processes and facilities, particularly in offshore medicine manufacturing companies, in order to assure compliance with stringent standards, which will bring a turnaround to the sector.
Close monitoring and inspection of drug manufacturing plants are essential.
Speaking on the same, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme, who is the Chief Medical Director at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, has also urged for the close monitoring and inspection of all the drug manufacturing plants that are located within the country. He went on to affirm that quality assurance and assessment laboratories should be set up in the country so that periodic checks can be performed on pharmaceuticals that are either imported or made domestically.
Prof. Ikpeme added that the government should take on the responsibility for strengthening the regulatory agencies in other to curb the menace, while they should also be encouraged to utilize special identification tools like holograms and identification numbers that may be connected toll-free. Ikpeme has also asked for a significant increase in the amount of education that is provided to the public about the risks associated with counterfeit pharmaceuticals and the impact it can have on their health.
Chaotic drug distribution method made it easier for fake drugs to spread.
In a similar manner, Mr. Abraham Idagu, who is a lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Calabar, emphasized that the chaotic method of drug distribution that is currently in use made it easier for fake, counterfeit, substandard, and contaminated drugs to spread. Idagu added that the unconstrained circulation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals was made possible by the inability to effectively uphold the laws that were already in place due to corruption.
According to him, this approach can make it possible for outdated pharmaceuticals to be relabeled and even for certain drug items that do not contain any active medicinal components to be sold. However, he also affirmed that the Pharmacy Bill, which was recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, will bring much-needed reform to the pharma industry and, by extension, the health sector. This law will offer the necessary legal framework in order to combat the illegal importation of drugs as well as other drug-related concerns.
The new Pharmacy Bill will enforce drug rules and regulate pharmaceuticals.
Moreover, Idagu added that this would help strengthen the agencies responsible for enforcing drug rules and regulating pharmaceuticals. He advocated for a long-term solution that would track pharmaceuticals nationwide from production to consumption. The significance of this in resolving the issue is enormous. It’s impossible to stress enough how important it is to address issues with how drugs are made. Establishing, maintaining, and adhering to policies and procedures that guarantee that pharmaceuticals are regularly manufactured to high standards is important.