Regent of Akure Kingdom, Princess (Dr) Adetutu Adesida, and Ondo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju have urged the federal government to step up its war against fake drugs in the country, saying the menace had caused more deaths than the dreaded Boko Haram group and could wreak even more havoc, except drastic measures were taken.
The duo disclosed this at the Palace of the Deji of Akure land, where Princess Adesida received members of the Association of the Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), led by their national chairman, Pharm. (Alh) Olufemi Ismail Adebayo who visited the palace to receive the royal blessing of the monarch as the ACPN kick-started its”Walk Against Counterfeit Drugs”campaigned, as part of activities for the 34thAnnual National Conference which was held in Akure, Ondo State recently.
Addressing the visitors, Princess Adesida, who holds a PhD in Pharmacy, implored the federal government to emulate the government of Ondo State, under the leadership of Dr, Olusegun Mimiko, whom, she disclosed, had taken giant strides in the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs by procuring a Trustcan machine to test the genuiness of drugs being sold in the state.
According to her, any nation that cares for the lives and safety of its citizens will never take the issue of fake and adulterated drugs lightly.
“We all know the dangers fake and counterfeit drugs portend for the health of the citizens and as such, serious campaigns, through the media, electronic and print, must be used so that more people could be aware and well-informed about the dangers it poses to their health.”
Also advising the Nigerian populace, the regent said, “I want to implore our citizens as well to desist from buying drugs anyhow and anywhere as drugs are too dangerous to be taken anyhow; therefore they should ensure they get their drugs from approved places across the state. The campaign will not end here as all my chiefs here present will as well take the message back to their people and with that, everybody, especially our ageing mothers and fathers, will be aware of it.”
Speaking in the same vein, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, disclosed that aside the procurement of a Trustscan machine to test the originality of drugs being sold across the state, government had also set up a task force which comprising officials of the Ministry of Health, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and security agencies, to inspect drugs being sold in the state.
He added that with the use of the scanning machine, officials from the ministry and other agencies would be able to know the genuineness of drugs put up for sale in stores, adding that any stores found selling fake drugs would be blacklisted and the findings of the inspection team would be made public so as to serve as a deterrent to others who may be nursing the idea of starting such illicitbusiness.
The Commissioner, while highlighting the harmful effects of fake drugs, noted that the danger was much more than the effects of dreaded diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer and malaria combined.
“It is funny when you see people taking drugs for same ailment over and over and the ailment refuses to go and they assume the ailment has spiritual connection, not knowing that it is actually as a result of fake drugs. It is therefore pertinent that we fight this scourge now before it kills us all,” Adeyanju said.
While thanking the association on behalf of the king of Akure Kingdom, High Chief M.A Adebayo, who was referred to as “Akure Warlord” appreciated the health commissioner for creating an enabling environment for the ACPN to hold its conference and for his effortsin the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs in the state.
“The influx of fake and substandard drugs has done a lot of havoc to our healthcare sector in this state and the entire nation; therefore the decision to organise this ‘walk’ in order to sensitise our people and create awareness is a welcome development and we are happy about it. We therefore assure you of our maximum support, while we enjoin you not to hesitate to ask us for anything that will ensure smooth running of your programme because its importance to the lives of our people,” Adebayo stated.
In his response, ACPNnational chairman, Pharm. (Alh) Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, appreciated the state government for its efforts at ensuring the state was rid of fake and substandard drugs. He also thanked the regent of Akure for sharing the passion of the association, regarding the theme for the ‘walk’.
“I want to assure your majesty and entire people of this state that and my members and I will not rest on our oars until the war against fake and counterfeit drugs is won.I therefore enjoin members of the public to cooperate with the association by reporting matters relating to the issue of fake and counterfeit medicine to the appropriate authorities, while patronising only authorised pharmacies for their drugs,” Adebayo stated.