Fake drugs: NAFDAC intercepts trucks load, arrests suspects
.Warns against dangers of fake drugs, expired food items
By Udeme Clement
The National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control ,NAFDAC, has intercepted over three trailers of substandard, expired and unregistered drugs from different locations in the country, in a bid to stem the tide in importation, rebranding and distribution of unregistered as well as expired pharmaceutical products, capable of causing serious health hazards in the country.
The Agency through a tip-off swiftly arrested the suspects, even as some of them are already facing prosecution in court.
The Director General of the Agency, Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye made this known while briefing newsmen on massive seizures of fake, substandard, unregistered drugs and even expired but revalidated food items distributed by some individuals in Lagos.
Her words, “These include interception of trailer-load and two trucks-also loaded with unregistered pharmaceutical products at Dan Lami’s trailer park, Marine beach, Apapa, by officers of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, through a tip-off by a whistle blower.
“The following products were found in the vehicles, Royal 225 tablet (Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg), Royal 250 tablets (Tramadol Hydrochloride 250mg), Super Power (Tramadol Hydrochloride 200mg), XT Power 150 (Sildenafil citrate tab 150mg), Ibamol (Diclofenac Sodium Capsule 50mg). The pharmaceutical products were all trans-loaded from 2x40ft containers with container numbers MRKU 5957468 and BMOU 2456840. The trailer driver, Mr Emmanuel David Ukwoba and the Clearing agent, Mr. Ezeanwu Ifeanyi, who accompanied the two trucks were arrested and their statements taken. Investigation is on-going to unravel the owners of the consignments.
“Also, investigative raid carried out at a purported patent medicine store belonging to Mr. Monday Isaac Okorie at Iwaya market, off capitol road, Dopemu, Agege on February 2, 2018, revealed some of these suspicious products, which include Rohypnol tablets (Flunitrazepam 1mg), Royal -225 tablets (Tramadol 225mg), Diazapam tablets (Diazepam 10mg) postinor-2 tablets (Levonorgestrel). The product is an old label that has since been changed by the marketing authorization holder about 4-5years ago.
“Others include Talen tablets (Bromazepam 3mg), Cough ‘N’ Cold Syrup with Codeine, Cofmix with Codeine syrup, Emzolyn with Codeine syrup, Hypnox tablets (Flunitrazepam 1mg), Valinex-5 tablets (Diazepam 5mg), Richcof with Codeine syrup, Codrux with Codeine syrup, Tutolin with Codeine syrup, Lara-120 Capsules (Tramadol 120mg), Really Extra tablets (Paracetamol, Diclofenac and Caffeine combination).
“Many of these products are drugs of abuse or narcotics such as Codeine and Tramadol. The user and abuser of the drugs get addicted or dependent on the drugs upon repeated use. The addiction could lead to crime such as sexual abuse, robbery, murder and terrorism. Most of those using the drugs are young people below 40 years. Families have been destroyed and dreams lost as a result of this.
“Recognition of the consequences is important to our young people, parents, teachers and law enforcement agencies. Let us help our youths by discouraging them and reporting cases of abuse in our communities. By so doing, we will be saving lives and families”.
Giving more explanation on the mind boggling seizures made by the Agency within a short period, she pointed out, “Another case was the arrest of Dr. Olayemi Lateef, of Kolaq Herbs limited on January 22, 2018, for illegal advertisement of Libigal Herbal Capsule and Univasur Herbal Capsule. The Managing Director, Dr. Olayemi Lateef was arrested and will be prosecuted. We are appealing to print and electronic media to disregard advert materials in respect of NAFDAC regulated products without approval of the agency.
“We also made arrest of Mr.Pius Ochigbo for sale and distribution of suspected fake Rohypnol (also known as rape drug), Tramadol (225mg, 200mg and 120mg) and different brands of cough syrup with Codeine. On January 18, 2018, the Managing Director of Elvis-Madu Sons Enterprises, Mr. Elochukwu Mmadubugwu was arrested and his statement taken. The matter has been filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
“Others include cases of food fraud like the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Victor Okeke Ebukafor allegedly importing, revalidating and distributing unregistered and expired Amoy Soy (Jade) Sauce and Magi Arome, and a case of willful revalidation of processed food products at Oke-Arin market, Lagos.
“The revalidated products discovered include, Heinz Mayonnaise, Heinz sweet-com, Heinz Beans sauce, Heinz tomato ketchup, Green giant peas. These products are adulterated and misbranded and they pose tremendous health risk to the general public.
“To continue to perform our duty of inspection and enforcement that led to such seizures and control of substandard drugs, misbranded and unwholesome foods, NAFDAC needs vehicles. We appeal to government and the legislators to assist the Agency in this effort. We also appeal to our lawmakers to pass the Counterfeit and Fake Drug and Unwholesome Processed Foods.
“We thank the enforcement agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police that has been a great partner in all our activities, the Nigeria Customs Service ,NCS, and other sister agencies for their support in the efforts to protect our citizens and safeguard the health of Nigerians. We equally thank Nigerians who joined NAFDAC to assist in pointing out fakers. We cannot do the jobs effectively without the community.
“In my resumption speech of November, 30, 2017, I promised to lead the Agency towards eliminating substandard, unsafe drugs, medical devices, foods and water. I have strengthened some directorates by changing the leadership and reshuffling some staff to place the right pegs in the right holes, thus enhancing effectiveness and maximising the utility of staff and interns. All workers are being constantly reminded to always place the interest of health of the nation first”.