Dr Paul Orhii, the Director-General, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on Tuesday said the agency had been able to drastically reduce the incidence of counterfeit anti-malaria drugs in Nigeria.
DG reveals how counterfeiting of anti-malaria drugs was reduced
The NAFDAC boss said that the scourge of malaria remained a huge health threat to countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria which necessitated the fight against counterfeiters of malaria drugs.
Orhii said this in Abuja at a stakeholders’ forum to officially present the result of the survey on the quality Anti-malarial Medicines in Nigeria for the Year 2014.
He said that many different strategies were used to achieve the result which had seen the counterfeiting of malaria drug drastically reduced from 40 to 3.6 per cent.
He said "In Nigeria, malaria contributes an estimated 11 per cent of maternal mortality and accounts for 60 per cent of out-patients visits, 42 per cent of hospitalisation among children under the age of five.There is also a reported prevalence of 50 per cent in the six to 59 months age group."
"Malaria is highly endemic with a burden estimated at 100 million cases per year with over 300, 000 deaths; this figure represented more than 50 per cent of total deaths caused by malaria worldwide,’’ Orhii added.
He said that the fight against counterfeiting was being fought in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Orhii explained that the result of the collaboration showed a remarkable decrease in circulation of counterfeit medicines from 40 per cent in 2001 to 16.7 per cent in the current year.
He pointed out that the use of modern technology aided the success of the fight against counterfeiting.
Adding that "First and foremost, Truscan device was conducted by NAFDAC across 29 states, including FCT from Jan. 2012 to April 2012.People know how to scratch, authenticate their medicine before they buy them and that’s why the technology is effective. I think this is why we have been able to achieve this fit."
"Out of 5,790 samples that were tested, 5,419 passed while 371 failed; the percentage of the samples that passed was 93.6 per cent while 6.4 per cent was a failure. From the 5790 samples tested, 910 of these were anti-malaria, 732 of these samples passed and 178 failed and this shows that anti-malaria samples that passed were 80.4 per cent while the 19.6 per cent failed,’’ he added.
Mrs Bridget Okoeguale, a Director in the Federal Ministry of Health, said that government was working hard to ensure that genuine drugs were made available and at affordable prices.
She urged Nigerians to report saboteurs of this effort as government was committed to the wellbeing of Nigerians.
Mr Patrick Lukulay, the Vice President, Global Health Impact Programme of the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, noted that self-medication was one of the major causes of malaria death in Nigeria.
He urged Nigerians to always go for medical test before treating any illness.
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