Just recently the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sounded a note of warning to consumers and health care professionals concerning a counterfeit version of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Adderall 30 milligram tablets that is being purchased on the Internet. According to an official website, this alert was just updated for the sake of the unwary public.
Teva Industries, and product counterfeiters have been in a running battle for some time now, as a couple of years ago the company discovered sophisticated fakes of another of its popular drugs – Omeprazole, a gastric reflux treatment in Germany. The original Teva is that which is produced and sold by the brand owners, an internationally reputable Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd of Israel.
It would be recalled that sometime in late 2016 counterfeited products of the same company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – original brands of Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril were dislodged from numerous parts of the Nigerian drug market when the regulatory authorities clamped down on the importers and dealers of the products.
In the process, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was forced to seal off 5 shops in the popular Idumota drug market in Lagos. And in order to protect their good name, the Idumota Drug Market Traders Association threw its weight behind the efforts of the regulatory agency in waging a major crack down on this form of illegal trade.
The recalcitrant importers and dealers of these fake products have continued in a constant battle with the authorities, including the law-abiding drug dealers in some of the major markets in Aba, Onitsha, Idumota, etc. Following this and the recent warnings issued by the American FDA, market leaders and traders in Nigeria have once again raised alarm – advising the general public to be at alert.
This type of practice invariably is a very serious criminal behaviour which is also capable of sabotaging the efforts of hardworking, and authorised drug manufacturers such as the original owners of the brand and trade mark. If left unchecked this kind of unlawful activity could also deal a deadly blow on the economy by frustrating the efforts of genuine manufacturers, importers as well as dealers of genuine products.
At this instance relevant stakeholders such as the drug traders union and market leaders in the country have joined their voices in calling on the authorities to be more exact in dealing with these economic saboteurs and deviants who have sworn to reap where they did not sow. NAFDAC and related agencies would need to further strengthen their surveillance in the bid to totally win the war waged by unscrupulous promoters and dealers in fake medicines in the land.
The authorities as well as the drug manufacturers, and importers associations such as PMG-MAN and APIN must come up with more sophisticated systems by which to track and trace individual medicines. This must be targeted as it is done in Europe and the U.S., towards products at high risk of fraud and not applied to all prescription medicines.
By Morgan Nwanguma