NAFDAC debunks reports on 70% fake medicines in Nigeria

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has debunked a media report that 70 percent of all drugs in Nigerian markets are fake.
NAFDAC in a statement says the claim is “categorically untrue and grossly inaccurate.” The agency says over time, it had collaborated with stakeholders such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Department for International Development (DFID) and United States Pharmacopeia (USP), to conduct series of studies on quality of medicines in Nigeria. Some of the findings in the past included a 2005 survey, which found counterfeit medicines stood at 16.7 percent against 40 percent in 2001.
In 2012, NAFDAC conducted the National Survey on Quality of medicines using Truscan® device 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, and 5,419 samples of medicines, which is 93.6 percent passed quality tests while 371 samples, which is 6.4 percent failed.
In more recent findings NAFDAC says a survey on quality of antimalarial medicines conducted in 2015 revealed that 771 samples, representing 96.4 percent out of 800 samples passed. A Round Two survey in collaboration with USP in 2016, showed the level of substandard antimalarial medicines in circulation to be 4.33 percent (39 out of 900 samples) as against 3.6 percent in 2015.
By the fifth survey, which its results were presented this year (2019), 98.7 percent of tested medicines passed quality tests while 1.3 percent failed.
“One of the focus and priority areas of my administration is reducing substandard and falsified drugs through emphasis on local manufacturing,” Moji Adeye, DG of NAFDAC, says.
According to Adeye, the promotion of local manufacturing has been a priority in order to reverse the trend of 30 percent locally manufactured drug products toward 70 percent.
“It has been documented that ordinarily, most of the Substandard and Falsified Drugs 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,” she states.
“Local manufacturing ensures drug security, reduces unemployment and increases contribution of the pharmaceutical industry to the nation’s GDP,” she says.
The agency also distanced itself from a workshop said to have been organised by a group for the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPMED), where it was claimed that 70 percent of drugs in Nigeria were fake.
“For avoidance of doubt, NAFDAC is hereby unequivocally refuting her participation or involvement in the said workshop,” read NAFDAC’s statement. According to the agency, the report of series of studies it has conducted in collaboration with relevant stakeholders shows the said media report “has no scientific basis, untrue and grossly misleading and as such it should be disregarded.”