Unlike India, China not helping Nigeria stop fake drugs
Unlike India, China is not assisting in the fight against counterfeit medicines even though the influx has been mainly from that country, Nigeria`s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says. “Comparative analysis has shown that China is not doing anything to help the Nigerian government in its attempt to control the import of counterfeit medicines, even though much of these medicines have been traced to China,” NAFDAC spokesman Abubakar Jimoh told IANS on the phone from Nigerian capital Abuja. On the other hand, the Indian government “has joined hands with the Nigerian authorities to fight the influx and has thus reduced the flow of such medicines from India,” Jimoh added. Nigeria has been faced with the influx of counterfeit medicines over the years and has tried several methods to overcome the scourge. Last year the government proposed a bill providing stiffer punishment for organisations and individuals who may be arrested for dealing in the manufacture and sale of counterfeit medicine. The government at the time wanted to use the bill to protect local manufacturers against inferior imports that were selling cheap on the market. It was proposed to provide support to three agencies – Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) – to link their activities and work in concert. The government at the time promised to support to the organisations in the enforcement of regulations in the control of fake products. It has been revealed that NAFDAC has been able to bring the prevalence rate of fake drugs down to six percent from the 16.7 percent over the past five years. The proposed bill, however, turned out to be much ado about nothing as there was no movement forward. Jimoh`s comments come to confirm an earlier statement by NAFDAC director general Paul Orhii that most fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs imported and openly sold on the Nigerian market were from China through smuggling with the connivance of some unscrupulous persons whose only interest is to make money.