- As new NAFDAC DG Promises Hell for Promoters of Counterfeit Medicines
There are strong indications that fake Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril anti-hypertensive medicines have resurfaced in drug markets across the country and this is coming as the new director- general of NAFDAC is sending a strong warning to promoters of counterfeit medicines to desist from their criminal activities or face the consequences.
The circulation of fake versions of Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril became subject of media headlines late 2016 when the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) officials, apparently acting on a tip-off, paid unscheduled visit to a popular drug market in Lagos and consequently, sealed about 5 shops in connection with un-registered Teva products.
The Lagos visit by NAFDAC officials was the first in a move planned by the agency to cover the whole country according to official reports then. It was gathered that a combination of NAFDAC unscheduled visit and the spontaneous support the agency received from the leadership of the market Union in Lagos instilled fear among promoters of the fake medicines and consequently they went underground and had been operating secretly till recently when they resumed their criminal activities.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd is an Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. It cannot immediately be confirmed if the makers of the original generic Amlodipine and Lisinopril used for the management and treatment of hypertensive conditions is aware of this development since no official statement has been issued by the pharmaceutical giant on the proliferation of fake versions of its popular drugs in Nigeria.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries according to industry experts, is among the leading generic makers around the world with a credible track record in genuine drug formulation and could not have been in the know concerning the circulation of fake versions of its anti-hypertensive medicines in Nigeria. Instead, it is believed that promoters of the fake versions of Teva products in Nigeria may be cashing-in on the popularity of Teva anti-hypertensive brands that are in high demand in the country to reap-off and endanger the lives of innocent Nigerians who use the medications.
Those who share this view believe that if the pharmaceutical giant was aware of such ugly development, it would have acted swiftly to stop it to avoid its reputation being smeared. To support this line of thinking, reference is made to similar challenges Teva had faced in recent past around the world, but it however, took steps to nip them in the bud.
For instance in April, 2013 the Financial Times of London reported how Teva discovered sophisticated fakes of its Omeprazole, a popular off patient heart burn medicine in Germany.
According to a statement credited to Robert Koremans, head of speciality medicines at Teva, the Israeli-based generics manufacturer, said his company had begun purchasing its own products from pharmacies to test after discovering fake versions of its omeprazole. “This is making us rethink our approach,” he said. “Patient safety comes first. We were surprised to discover the counterfeiting.”
Ratiopharm, a subsidiary of Teva, the report further said, was alerted by a patient in Germany who became suspicious of spelling mistakes in the instructions on a packet of its omeprazole, a gastric reflux treatment. The drug contained genuine pharmaceutical ingredients but was not produced by the manufacturer, as claimed on the box.
Similarly, The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had in May 2012 said that consumers and health care professionals should be wary of counterfeit versions of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ Adderall 30 milligram tablets that are being sold on the Internet.
The FDA according to the Wall Street Journal report said its preliminary laboratory tests revealed that the counterfeit version of Teva’s Adderall 30 mg tablets contained the wrong active ingredients.
The activities of promoters of fake Teva anti-hypertensive medicines in Nigeria appear to be bearing the footprint of determined syndicates who would stop at nothing to ensure that drug markets across the country are flooded with counterfeit versions of the popular Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed director general of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, had in her maiden address to the staff of the agency recently in Abuja assured of her administration’s commitment to sustain the tempo in the war on counterfeit medicines in Nigeria until the country is rid-off it.