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How "chemists" are harming Nigerians

12 June 2015, 22:27 Hussain Obaro

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was created and empowered by Decree 15 of 1993 as amended by Decree 19 of 1999 and now the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act Cap No 1 Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004. The Act mandates NAFDAC to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, detergents, medical devices and packaged water (regulated products). The vision of NAFDAC is; to safe guard the public Health of Nation and their Mission is; to safeguard the public health by ensuring that only the right quality food, drugs and other regulated products are manufactures, exported, imported, advertised, sold and used.

In as much as Nigerians across the divide have given NAFDAC a pass mark in the fight against counterfeit and fake drugs in Nigeria, little or nothing have been done by the agency as regard ridding the drug market of “expired” drugs. The expiration date of pharmaceuticals specifies the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of the drug. It is a fact that most drugs get expired even before their expiry date. This is occasioned by poor storage facilities, poor transportation, weather and climatic conditions and environmental factors. It is important to keep in mind that the expiry date of a particular drug was determined through testing of previously unopened-products, stored in its original container and under a standard weather and climate condition of temperature. Once you open a bottle, or transfer it to another container (like a prescription vial), the manufacturer’s expiry date is no longer reliable.

Also Read: NAFDAC concludes annual safe water tests in 21 states

Considering the harmful and toxic effects in the usage of “expired” drugs, NAFDAC should therefore beam its search light on the activities of the local drug shops popularly called “chemists” who handle and store drugs in ways that compromise the efficacy and potency of such medicines, making them dangerous for use even before the expiry date. Pharmaceutics are meant to be kept and stored under a certain range of temperature and climatic conditions which are not always adhere strictly to by the “chemists”. Even though the expiry date inscribe by the manufacturer of these medicines states otherwise, one may not be wrong to conclude that about 80 percent of drugs in the local drug shops are already expired and dangerous to health.

Because of their spread and nearness to the people, most Nigerians patronizes the “chemists” Another factor is that their drugs are cheaper than the ones of the very big and sophisticated pharmaceutical stores, these makes the “chemists” a destination of choice for low income earners and the not-so-rich in our Nigeria. Hence, the need for NAFDAC to do more at safe guarding the health of the nation by constantly sending out their task force to flush out, sanction and close down any “chemist” which didn’t adhere strictly to standard in the storage of drugs, because the health and wellbeing of poor Nigerians are equally as important as that of the rich. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation, to this end, the relevant department in NAFDAC should be adequately empowered by law to prevent poor Nigerians from consuming poison as drugs.

- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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