The task of eradicating counterfeit and substandard products from Nigeria is said to be the responsibility of all, including the government, regulating agencies, stakeholders and the consumers.
This was disclosed by a Special Assistant to the Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Mr. William Effiok, on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at a Town and Gown seminar series of the Department of Biological Sciences, Covenant University, Ota.
While speaking on “Sustaining Zero Tolerance to Substandard and Fake Products in Food and Drugs in Nigeria,” Mr. Effiok, who was also the Guest Speaker at the seminar, submitted that the magnitude and effects of counterfeiting are significant and require strong as well as sustained action from the government, industry and consumers.
He said, “We recognise that more effective enforcement is critical in this regard, as there is the need to build public support to combat the issue of counterfeiting. There is also the need for increase cooperation between governments and industry to effectively deal with fake products.”
The guest speaker highlighted various strategies engaged by NAFDAC at eradicating counterfeit and substandard products in Nigeria, which include sustained public enlightenment, improved collaboration with national and international agencies, capacity building of its staff, review of NAFDAC laws and cutting edge technologies.
NAFDAC, he said, is currently spearheading global efforts in the use of cutting-edge technologies to fight counterfeit drugs and other regulated products. This, he said, has gained international recognition. The technologies, according to him, include Truscans (Raman Spectroscopy), Black Eye (infra-red), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Minilab and Mobile Authentication Service (SMS Text Messaging).
The efforts, according to studies conducted by NAFDAC from 2001 to 2013, showed a progressive decrease in the incidence of counterfeit medicine in Nigeria. “NAFDAC/WHO/DFID study shows that in 2001, counterfeits stood at 40% as against 16. 7% in 2015. National Survey on Quality of Medicines using Truscans shows that counterfeits stood at 6. 4% in 2013,” Effiok explained.
While condemning counterfeiting activities in the country, Effiok enjoined stakeholders to join NAFDAC in the fight against the menace. “NAFDAC will neither relent nor waver in the fight until the battle is won,” he promised.
A Senior Faculty, Dr. Olubanke Ogunlana, who stood in for the Head of Department, Professor Adesola Ajayi, noted that the presenter was able to convince the participants that it is possible to sustain zero tolerance for substandard and fake products. She appreciated the guest speaker for the depth of knowledge shared with the audience and expressed the belief that the relationship between the Agency and the department would continue to yield fruitful results.