WHO says over 900,000 die for taking counterfeit drugs in Africa every year, Nigeria leads, study reveals

The Periscope reporter

40% of medicines sold in Africa are either fake or substandard. The problem is most prevalent in Nigeria the most populous nation on the continent.

World Health Organisation WHO, has it that over 900,000 people in Africa die as a result of taking fake or faulty drugs every year.

With its population of nearly two hundred million people, Nigeria is particularly at risk

Experts have called on the federal government to put in the right measure to tackle the issue.

The circulation of fake and untested drugs on the street of Nigeria is rising despite government’s efforts to combat the growing trends for many years, investigation can reveal.

Experts say one of the major challenges in the fight against counterfeit drugs in Nigeria, is the difficulty in differentiating genuine products from the fake. Consumers often buy fake drugs thinking they’re getting the real thing.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC, destroyed fake drugs across the country worth thirteen million dollars in 2018 alone.

Experts said that these kinds of drugs have enormous impact on the health of consumers.

“Counterfeit or drugs that are not properly manufactured, may contain toxic or not so good impurities that may be harmful to the point of causing cancer for those that take it for other reasons.

“A tablet may have an overdose of a particular item to a toxic level. The bad effect ranges from disability to death,” Pharm. Charles Mebrim said

President Muhammadu Buhari closed the country’s border in August last year, to curb the proliferation of counterfeit products including fake drugs.

However, certified vendors in Nigeria said it is time for the government to step up its measures in regulating sales and distributions of drugs in the country.

“The best way to get across this problem is to control drug distribution, discourage open drug market, which is the major window for counterfeit.

“Establish a central drug distribution system, national distribution, state distribution, then to the province and the individual shops; hospitals can lift their drugs from the province where they find themselves,” Charles Mebrim advised.

Meanwhile, purchasing and verifying drugs from only accredited outlets could be the only hope for consumers in Nigeria

(Additional report sourced from CGTN)

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