By Yusuff Moshood
The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) has stated that to conquer the challenge of drug counterfeiting in Nigeria, stakeholders in the industry must devise new strategies to complement the statutory roles of drug regulatory bodies.
The NAIP came up with this resolution at the end of its July bimonthly meeting and lecture with the theme “Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting: Restrategising the War”, held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Auditorium, Central Business District (CBD), Alausa, Lagos.
According to the resolution signed by the NAIP National Chairman, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi, there is an urgent need for an industry led alliance of enforcement agencies, which include the police, Nigerian Customs, NAFDAC and the State Security Services (SSS), to effectively wage the war on pharmaceutical counterfeiting.
While advocating for increased public awareness of counterfeit medicines, the NAIP also advocated for the locking of all players involved in drug distribution into a system that will help ensure the tracking and tracing of their products to prevent pharma-fakes penetration of the official regulated chain.
The NAIP contended that to win the war on pharmaceutical counterfeiting, it is imperative for the pharma industry to lead the new anti-counterfeiting warfare in concert with the regulatory bodies.
Also speaking at the NAIP bi-monthly meeting, Pharm. (AIG Rtd.) Alex Emeka Okeke, who was the keynote address speaker, stated that dealing with the problem of pharma counterfeiting will depend on how much attention is paid to the problem, not only by the regulatory bodies, but all other stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector.
Pharm. Okeke stated further that containing the menace of pharmaceutical counterfeit will require getting the regulatory bodies, manufacturers and importers to keep pace with the activities of the individuals and network involved in the counterfeit business.
The retired police boss also commended NAFDAC for the use of cutting-edge technologies to fight counterfeit drugs, noting that the advent of sophisticated printing technologies makes visual detection of fake drugs with the eye almost impossible.
Pharm. Okeke noted that while the regulatory agencies must be motivated to be more effective, there must also be improved vigilance by other pharmaceutical stakeholders.
The keynote speaker also advocated for sustained public enlightenment, using the print and electronic media for sensitisation.
He equally stressed that what is ultimately required to win the anti-counterfeiting war is to build a ground swell of support and collaboration that will triumph over the evil of pharmaceutical counterfeiting.
Also speaking at the occasion, Pharm. Adewale Oyenuga, managing director, Cipla Evans, who represented Chief Bunmi Olaopa as chairman of the event, urged all stakeholders to collaborate to win the anti-counterfeiting war, noting that if the war is not won, it could consume the industry.
The guest of honour at the event, Pharm. Emmanuel Ekunno, managing director/CEO of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc, also urged all stakeholders in the industry to collaborate and fight drug counterfeiters as if they were fighting terrorist, adding that what the counterfeiters are doing is not different from terrorism. He equally urged the industry players to fight staff infidelity and make it impossible for a staff that has stolen from a company to move to another company without detection.