… vows to make illicit trade unattractive
By Tunde Opalana
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has reaffirmed its commitment to eradicating the menace of counterfeit drugs and unwholesome products from the Nigerian market.
In response to recent negative press concerning the activities of fake drug manufacturers and sellers of substandard food and beverages, NAFDAC said it is intensifying efforts to ensure the safety of drugs and food consumed by Nigerians.
A statement Tuesday by the Residence Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola indicated that the agency, led by Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, stands resolute against a campaign of calumny launched by those who seek to profit at the expense of the well-being of fellow citizens.
The statement said the recent exposure of a cartel involved in the production of fake wines and soft drinks in Aba, Abia State, underscores the gravity of the situation.
The media consultant in the statement said “Prof. Adeyeye clarified that NAFDAC brought the activities of these nefarious individuals to the public’s attention to safeguard citizens during the Yuletide festivities, cautioning against consuming potentially harmful substances disguised as cheap wines and soft drinks.
“The Director-General expressed dismay at the uncomplimentary commentaries in the media, highlighting the interception of counterfeiters in Eziukwu Market, Aba, as an example of NAFDAC’s commitment. She emphasized that the agency would not be deterred by unfounded allegations, urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities.
“Prof. Adeyeye disclosed that officers from the Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and Pharmacovigilance and Post Marketing Surveillance Directorates have been empowered to apprehend those involved in the production and distribution of counterfeit drugs and substandard food items.
“Despite numerous life-threatening encounters and attacks on NAFDAC officers, Prof. Adeyeye assured that the agency remains undeterred in its mission to safeguard the health of Nigerians. She urged citizens to assist by providing useful information on the activities of counterfeiters, emphasizing, “They live and operate in our midst. We should say something when we see something.”
Calling for the support of the 10th National Assembly, Prof. Adeyeye appealed for the expedited review of penalties against counterfeiting. She argued that stiff penalties, without an option of a fine, would discourage perpetrators from engaging in such illicit trades.
According to the statement, NAFDAC, having achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification and World Health Organization (WHO) Maturity Level 3, continues in its efforts to combat the scourge of substandard medicines. Prof. Adeyeye pledged that the agency would persist with sensitization activities across the country in the New Year, ensuring Nigerians are aware of the threats posed by counterfeit products.
Prof. Adeyeye urged consumers to scrutinize branded drinks or drugs before consumption. NAFDAC advises the public to consider the “4 Ps” before purchasing drugs, food, drinks, or alcohol.
“NAFDAC remains steadfast in its mission to minimize the circulation of counterfeit products, ensuring that Nigerians consume only healthy and safe products.
“The agency encourages the public to report any suspicious activities or illegal production of adulterated products to the nearest NAFDAC office nationwide,” the statement added.