The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC (NAFDAC) has appealed to the Judiciary to always apply tougher penalty against those found guilty of drug counterfeiting, expired processed food and repugnant cosmetics to serve as deterrent to others.
The agency made the call on Sunday through a statement signed by the Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola.
The statement quoted the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye as decrying the enormity of fake drug peddling in the country, as she attributed it to weak laws and lack of law enforcement.
In the same vein, Adeyeye also pleaded with members of the National Assembly to pass the Counterfeit Medical Products Bill that will reinforce the NAFDAC’s fight against counterfeiting in Nigeria.
She warned that henceforth, there would be no hiding place for the merchants of death who she said; derive joy in the unpatriotic act of circulating expired, falsified drugs and food products, putting the health of millions of Nigerians at risk.
In its renewed efforts to safeguard the health of Nigerians, she said the Agency’s resolved to go after those who engage in circulation of counterfeited and expired medicines, cosmetics, and spurious food products in the country until they are apprehended and made to face the wrath of the law.
Speaking against the backdrop of the ongoing destruction of falsified and expired medicines, cosmetics, and unwholesome food products across the country by the sgency, the NAFDAC DG appealed to the judiciary to take sterner view of counterfeiting and apply the maximum penalty of the weak laws to deter counterfeiters and fraudsters from the dangers they pose to the society and all consumers as a result of their dangerous products.
She avers that the dangerous business would be made unattractive if it carries maximum penalty for the offenders.
Prof Adeyeye said the agency would not rest on its oars until those she describes as merchants of death desist from the nefarious activities following the destruction of seized unwholesome products worth over N5b in five months.
According to her, the agency destroyed unwholesome medicines, expired processed food items and cosmetics worth N1, 429,580,683.00 in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State in March for South-South and Southeast operations.
The NAFDAC DG, however, assured Nigerians that the agency would stop at nothing to apprehend the people who engage in the illicit business of endangering the lives of undiscerning consumers who patronize them.
‘’The operatives of the agency had combed the nooks and crannies of the five geo-political zones of the federation, namely, Northwest, North East, South East, South-South and South West to mop up expired drugs and unwholesome food products with a view to safeguarding the health of the Nigerian people’’, she said.
Adeyeye noted that the destruction was part of the efforts to rid the Nigerian market of unwholesome products and engender public confidence.
The destroyed products include drugs such as antibiotics, antihypertensive, antimalarial, herbal remedies, psychoactive, controlled substance.
Food products such as spaghetti, vegetable oil, non-alcoholic beverages, sachet water, Chocolates, Noodles, etc. were also destroyed as well as cosmetics such as creams, pomade, and insecticides.
According to her, the continued destruction of the spurious products would eliminate the risk of their reintroduction into the market, noting that drug counterfeit is an act of economic sabotage and poses serious threat to public health.
“It is proof of NAFDAC’s resolve to safeguard the health of the people and ensure that only genuine medicines that are wholesome are sold in Nigeria’’, she said.
“This flag off of the Southwest zonal destruction exercise is in line with our mandate and strategy aimed at eradicating the reintroduction of Expired, Substandard and Falsified (SFs) Medical Products as well as other spurious, unsafe and unwholesome NAFDAC regulated products into circulation in Nigeria.”, she said, adding that, the current NAFDAC management is committed to ensuring that the health of the nation is safeguarded”, she stated.