Nafdac likely to set up check points for counterfeit drugs

Written by BV Mahalakshmi | Hyderabad | Updated: Sep 30 2009, 06:06am hrs
Following recent apprehensions over sub-standard drugs marketed in Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac) has proposed to set up overseas control points in India and China to verify the quality of all drugs and allied pharmaceutical products sold in Nigeria from these two countries. These check points are expected to have state-of-the-art technologies to check counterfeit on the spot. This is said to be the first initiative to counter fake drug supply in the generic business.

Paul B Orhii, director general, Nafdac, said that despite a strict regulatory and legislative framework, counterfeit drugs in the generic segment continue to pose a challenge for Africa. The Nigerian government plans to bring in lifetime jail term or death penalty for manufacturers and distributors of fake and substandard drugs in Nigeria. Orhii was in Hyderabad to attend an Indo-Africa summit organised by the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council

We would sign a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Pharmacueticals, government of India, on September 30, to put in place a joint regulatory framework for both the countries to check counterfeit drugs, he informed. He said that about 20 Indian pharmaceutical companies in various categories have expressed interest in setting up manufacturing facilities in Nigeria. The likes of Apollo Pharmacy and Hetero Dugs, which have a wide network of pharmacy outlets in the country, have been approached to set up pharmacies for marketing quality products and dispel fears of sub-standard drugs.

Incidentally, Nafdac has had discussions with Torrent Pharma and Ranbaxy for setting up bio-equilance and bio-availability study centres in Nigeria. Nafdac is planning to join hands with the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Hyderabad, to train its people.

We would give rewards to informers and actively encourage victims to gather evidence that enable us to sue manufacturers and distributors of these deadly products, he said.

He also informed that a massive campaign was being drawn up jointly by Nafdac, the Indian government, China and the US to build an international coalition to fight counterfeit drugs. According to a WHO report, about 16.7% of the total pharma exports to Nigeria are counterfeit. According to Pharmexil statistics, India has substantial pharma trade in the Africa region.