senate
senate

CHAIRMAN of the Senate
Committee on Health, Senator
Olanrewaju Tejuoso has disclosed
that not less than $62billion were
lost to drug counterfeiting business
in two years, with $32 billion
in 2004 and $40 billion in 2006
respectively.
Senator Tejuoso quoted a World
Health Organisation, WHO, report
at a public hearing on a Bill for an
Act to Amend the Counterfeit and
Fake Drugs and unwholesome
processed Foods Act organised by
the committee over the weekend in
Abuja.
This is even as Senate President
Bukola Saraki said that individuals
convicted for production and sale
of counterfeit and fake drugs, as
well as unwholesome processed
foods, risked life imprisonment.
Saraki, who declared open the
public hearing, also said such
convicted individuals could
be given option of fine, that is,
N2million, adding that upon
conviction, assets acquired through
the business would be forfeited to
the federal government.
According to him, the
amendment of the Act is aimed at strengthening punitive measures
against persons involved in such
unwholesome practice.
“In 2008 thousands of Nigerian
children started taking a teething
medicine that contained toxic
chemicals.
“By February 2009 over 90
Nigeria babies had died from
consuming the mixture. This is
despicable and to say the least
unacceptable,” he said.
The Senate president stressed
that the amendment of the bill
would no doubt provide Nigerians
the much needed food security,
disease free society and required
standards for soil sciences.
Earlier, Senator Tejuoso said
the Senate had continued to
give opportunity to Nigerians to
contribute their quota to matters of
national importance, particularly
health.
“There is need to enact new
legislations or amend the weak or
already existing ones to see that the
lives of the citizen of this nation are
protected,” he said.
Tejuoso, who decried the
increased level of fake products in
the Nigerian market, said “there
are several fake products like
fake cosmetics, fake registered
appliances, fake spare parts, fake
brushes, fake designer shoes and
the list is literally endless.”
According to the lawmaker, “The
effect is far reaching because it is a
matter of life and death.
“Some of the major causes of fake
drugs and counterfeiting include
corruption, inadequate technology
for the protection of the identity
of genuine drugs as well as lack
of vigilance and advocacy by the
healthcare providers.”
The committee chairman,
however, declared that “combating
this menace requires serious
efforts.”
Senator Tejuoso informed
that about 50 percent of drugs
purchased from private places
like pharmacies, patent medicine
stores and street vendors were
more susceptible to counterfeiting,
unlike those from the public health
sector.
“According to late Dora Akunyili,
the negative impact of fake drugs
from the society is more than that
of either narcotic agents but the
combined effects of malaria, HIV/
AIDS and armed robbery.
“The mandate of NAFDAC is to
regulate and control importation,
exportation, manufacture,
advertisement, distribution, sale
and use of foods, drugs, cosmetics,
medical devices, bottled water and
chemical,” he said.


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