The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in a swift reaction, has come out to publish a rebuttal regarding a recent publication in the Vanguard newspaper. The publication which claimed that 70% of all medicines sold in the Nigerian market are fake, was clearly refuted in a public statement, and an official disclaimer signed by the Director General of the federal agency, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye and made available to news hunters.
The statement read as follows: “NAFDAC wishes to inform the members of the public, especially health care providers, policy makers and development partners to disregard an online publication at https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/04/in-south-east-number-of-deaths-caused-by-fake-drugs-escalating/ – 70% of all drugs in Nigerian markets are fake.
This is categorically untrue and grossly inaccurate. NAFDAC in collaboration with relevant stakeholders such as World Health Organisation (WHO), Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Pharmacopeia conducted series of studies on quality of medicines in Nigeria and the report of these studies are outlined as follows:
A study of Counterfeit and Substandard Medicines in Nigeria conducted by NAFDAC in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) and Department for International Development (DFID) in 2005 revealed that counterfeit medicines stood at 16.7% in 2005 as against 40% in 2001. The National Survey on Quality of medicines using Truscan® device was conducted by NAFDAC across 29 States including FCT, Abuja from January 2010 to April 2012.
The medicines involved in the survey included antibiotics, antimalarials and antidiabetics. A total of 5,790 samples of medicines were tested.
5,419 samples of medicines out of 5,790 (93.6%) tested during the survey passed quality tests while 371 samples (6.4%) failed.
Another survey on the quality of medicines was conducted in Lagos State in May 2012 using the Truscan® device.
A total of 235 samples of medicines comprising antimalarials, antibiotics, antidiabetics and anti-inflammatory agents were tested.
226 samples of 235 (96.2%) passed quality test while 9 samples (3.8%) failed.
The report of the survey on quality of antimalarial medicines conducted by NAFDAC in collaboration with National Malarial Elimination Programme (NMEP), National Supply Chain Management Programme (NSCMP) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP) presented on 11th August, 2015 revealed that:
• 771 samples (96.4%) out of 800 samples of antimalarial medicines passed.
• 29 samples (3.6%) out of 800 samples of antimalarial medicines failed.
The samples of medicines for Round Two (2) survey on quality of antimalarial medicines conducted by NAFDAC in collaboration with USP were procured between April and May 2016. The report of Round Two (2) survey was presented to stakeholders on the 11th April 2017.
The report showed the level of substandard antimalarial medicines in circulation to be 4.33% (39 out of 900 samples) as against 3.6% in 2015.
The samples of antimalarial medicines for Round Three (3) of the survey were procured between February and March 2017. The report of Round 3 survey presented to stakeholders on 12th December, 2017 revealed that 883 out of 897 samples of antimalarial medicines (98.4%) passed quality tests while 14 samples (1.6%) failed.
The samples of antimalarial medicines for Round Four (4) survey were procured in August 2017. The report of Round 4 Survey presented on 12th December 2018 revealed that 727 (98.1%) of samples passed laboratory analysis while 14 (1.9%) failed.
The report of Round Five (5) Survey on quality of antimalarial medicines presented to stakeholders on 13th March 2019 revealed that 895 out of 907 samples of antimalarial medicines (98.7%) passed quality tests while 12 samples (1.3%) failed.
The report of series of studies conducted by NAFDAC in collaboration with relevant stakeholders outlined above established that the online publication in Vanguard has no scientific basis, untrue and grossly misleading and as such it should be disregarded.
One of the focus and priority areas of my administration is reducing substandard and falsified drugs through an emphasis on local manufacturing. Promotion of local manufacturing has been on my priority list. This is to reverse the trend of 30% locally manufactured drug products toward 70%. It has been documented that ordinarily, most of the SFs are imported due to the fact that access and fastness to inspect local companies are quite spontaneous and therefore locally produced registered pharmaceuticals are of good quality.
Local manufacturing ensures drug security, reduces unemployment and increases the contribution of the pharmaceutical industry to the nation’s GDP.
A disclaimer statement is written below distancing NAFDAC from Christabel International Organisation who organised the said meeting and the untrue statements.”
“The attention of the Agency has been drawn to a publication dated 19th April 2019 by the Vanguard newspaper titled “70% of drugs in Nigerian markets are fake”.
The National Agency for food and drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) hereby states that the Agency was never a party to any sensitisation workshop organised by Christabel International Organisation at Onitsha for the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPMED), wherein it was claimed that 70% of Drugs in Nigeria are fake. For the avoidance of doubt, NAFDAC is hereby unequivocally refuting her participation/ Involvement in the said workshop.
The agency hereby wishes to inform the general public that the fight against the menace of fake drugs and other unwholesome NAFDAC regulated products is something that the Agency considers as an utmost and daily routine activity.
All NAFDAC’s Directorates are on their toes to ensure that our country Nigeria is free of fake drugs and other unwholesome NAFDAC regulated products.
The public is hereby implored to disregard the publication in Vanguard Newspaper of 19th April 2019.”
Also, in a rejoinder written by the Safe Medicines Foundation and signed by its Executive Director, Dr. (Pharm.) Ifeanyi Okechukwu, read in part: NAFDAC and Safe Medicines Foundation (SMF) held a joint press conference to debunk the fake news on the 70% of medicines in Nigeria being fake on Monday, 29th April 2019 at NAFDAC Headquarters, Lagos.
The Chairman of SMF, Pharm. Ahmed Ibrahim Yakasai, FPSN, who was the President of Pharmaceutical Society Nigeria (PSN) at the time Dr. Nevin of PwC gave the Key Note Address at the PSN Conference in Umuahia two years, gave a clearer explanation of the Dr. Nevin’s presentation and the reference of 17% which was errorneously reported as 70%.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye and the Chairman of SMF also clarified the issues around the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines and Pharm. Yakasai, FPSN, reported that Kano Centre will be ready for takeoff soon.
By Sammy Adaba with Agency Reports