Busted INTERPOL seizes fake drugs worth N16.3 billion across 115 countries

The ‘Operation Pangea VIII’ initiative, coordinated through INTERPOL, led to 156 arrests worldwide and N16.3 billion (£51.6) million of counterfeit medicines seized across 115 countries.

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play (Doctors TV/ Guardian)
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Following a a global crackdown organised by the International Criminal Police Organisation  or INTERPOL, there has been a fresh alert on fake drugs.

The ‘Operation Pangea VIII’ initiative, coordinated through INTERPOL, led to 156 arrests worldwide and N16.3 billion (£51.6) million of counterfeit medicines seized across 115 countries.

It also targeted websites that were offering falsified, counterfeit and unlicensed medicines. Such sites were closed or suspended, their domain names or payment facilities removed.

To this end, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is canvassing the establishment of International Convention on Fake Drugs which allows for easy collaboration between countries to arrest perpetrators.

Speaking with Guardian, NAFDAC’ Director of Special Duties, Abubakar Jimoh, said that the agency, with the help of anti-faking technologies such as Truscan and Text Messaging System, has reduced the incidence of fake drugs in the country from 64% in 2008, to 6.4% in 2011.

The figures are as provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) gotten from  its study on Africa.

He also said the most counterfeited medicines in Nigeria are the antimalarial and antibiotics unlike in the global crackdown where most of the drugs seized were harmful slimming pills, erectile dysfunction tablets, fake condoms and so on.

Jimoh further added that Nigeria has been hailed for deploying cutting edge technology in fight against drug counterfeiting. The use of Truscan and text messaging system and new anti-faking technologies has put us shoulder high.

“This was the problem we readily acknowledged long time ago. Before fake drug was seen as developing countries’ problem but now it is seen as global problem" he said.

Meanwhile, MHRA Head of Enforcement, Alastair Jeffrey, said: “A breakdown of the UK seizures highlights the growing trend towards lifestyle medications and products that are unlicensed, falsified or controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971."

He added that majority of the products seized in UK originated from India, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

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