Posted by Osteen Oyibode, Asaba | 8 September 2015 | 3,925 times
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) on Monday uncovered a N40 million worth assorted counterfeit drugs in Asaba, the Delta State capital city after apprehending a 32 years old man suspected to be the owner.
The 32-years-old man who was identified as Mr. Paul Osita Eli, was arrested in the early hours of Monday, in the house at number 2, Charles Edozien Avenue, Asaba, where he is reportedly packaging the counterfeit drugs with mobile authentication number to make it genuine in the eyes of the unsuspecting patients.
The drugs found in his 3-bedroom apartment where he operates from include Maloxine, Lumatem (anti-malaria drugs), LOFNAC (for body pains relief), Buscomac (for stomach pain relief) and Rysovin (anti-fungal drug) alongside already printed mobile authentication numbers.
Eli, a graduate of Management Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka while speaking to newsmen, said he has been in the business for over one year, adding that he does the packaging of the drugs after receiving them from his business associate, whom he simply named as Achubuike in Lagos but denied knowledge of the drugs being fake.
Disclosing that he distributes the drugs in Kano through his business partner, Chibuike in Sabogari, the suspect who hails from Anambra said the drugs were being imported from India by his partner in Lagos.
He added that the drugs seen in his possession were slightly above N1 million as against NAFDAC assessment of over N40 million. On the where about of his family, he said he is not married, adding that he gets the drugs through waybill and also distributes same through waybill. He said the drugs were yet to be tested to ascertain their authenticity.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Chairman of the Federal Taskforce on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Process Foods and Acting Director, Investigation and Enforcement directorate, NAFDAC, Mr Kingsley Ejiofor, said they came to Delta following incidents of counterfeit drugs as an agency and as a taskforce on Taskforce on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Process Foods.
Ejiofor disclosed that they were able to track down the suspect due to consumer complaint and urged members of the public to report to them any anti-counterfeiting activity.
“People should shine their eyes so that they know what their neighbours are doing because this could have just gone unnoticed if someone did not report to them,” he added.
Continuing, he said: “The one that is mindboggling is the anti-malaria drugs. You know NAFDAC came up with this mobile authentication service. And when you find this panel, you scratch, send it to a particular number; now it appears that the counterfeiters have taken advantage of the fact that when people see this panel that is enough, they will not go the extra mile to scratch and send.
“We are therefore telling members of the public that it is not enough for you to buy the drug with the panel on it, go the extra mile by scratching and sending it to the number indicated and if there is no response don’t buy; it might be counterfeit.”
On the time it took NAFDAC to track down the suspected after being tipped off, Ejiofor said it took them less than one week. On whether they have verified if they were fake drugs, he said they have every reasonable suspicion that they are fake drugs.
He held that the drugs were worth over N40 million. He said they would arraign the suspect in court as soon as possible for him to explain how he got these drugs, adding that they would get to the source of the drugs.
He assured that NAFDAC was out to safeguard the health of the nation, maintaining that they would not rest until the scourge of fake drugs and foods were eliminated from Nigeria.
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