NAFDAC seizes fake drugs worth N270m, parades suspects
IN its bid to rid the country of counterfeit drugs, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said it has seized more than five containers of suspected fake and unregistered drugs valued N270 million.
NAFDAC Director-General, Dr. Paul Orhii, who made this known yesterday during a media briefing on the seized medical products, also paraded two suspects involved in forgery of the agency’s documents and operating illegal production facilities that pose serious threat to public health.
The director-general said that the containers, seized with the assistance of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), were filled with Heragra (120 tablets milligramme), Ziagra (120 milligramme tablets), Tramadol (200 milligramme capsules), among others.
He said: “Unregistered Ziagra and Heragra brands of sildenafil citrate tablets are usually registered in 25 milligrammes, 50 milligrammes and 100 milligrammes. However, these unregistered products came at strength of 120 milligrammes. Unregistered Tramadol came in as 200 milligrammes quick action and 200 milligrammes. The reference strength for Tramadol is 50 milligrammes, 100 milligrammes and 200 milligrammes (slow release dosage). While sildenafil citrate tablet is a prescription only medication (POM) for managing erectile dysfunction, tramadol is also a POM for managing severe pain and under strict control in Nigeria. These products have not been tested and certified by NAFDAC. Therefore, their quality and safety are not guaranteed. But for the timely intervention of NAFDAC, they would have found their way into circulation.”
Orhii explained that intake of these products can cause serious side effects, such as chest pain, uncomfortable penile erection, irregular heart-beat, increased blood pressure or stroke, ulceration of the gastro-intestinal tract, death tolerance and dependence. Other side effects of overdose of the products, according the director-general, include liver disease, kidney disease, swelling of the face, swelling of the tongue and skin disease.
While one suspect was arrested for producing counterfeit Kasapreko Alomo Bitters, another was arrested for forgery of the agency’s documents to clear 14 by 40 feet containers of paraqua – a highly-toxic weed killer.
Orhii stated that “our operatives recovered 314 cartons of 14 by 750 millimetres of counterfeit Kasapreko Alomo Bitters with empty bottles and packaging materials of popular alcoholic beverage like Mcdowell Whisky and Johnnie Walker (Red Label)”, adding that “the suspect has been operating without due regard to the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and standards of hygiene in the production of the violative products. His actions are inimical to public health.”
He added that other “is being investigated for forging NAFDAC e-clearance payment advice for inspection and certification of 14 by 40 container of paraquat for agricultural use.”
The suspect, however, told the media that he was not arrested for adulteration of Alomo Bitters, but for producing “herbal products”, adding “ I made research before producing them.”
When asked whether he registered the product with NAFDAC, he said: “I came to NAFDAC, but my research work was not approved. I could not afford the money NAFDAC was requesting for registration.”