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Health Alert: NAFDAC warns consumers, says ‘drug hawkers are merchants of death’

*Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control warns consumers against patronising drug hawkers, disclosing most of the products they sell are counterfeit, substandard and expired medicines

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

In line with the agency’s consumer protection initiatives to safeguard the health of the people, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned Nigerians against patronising drug hawkers.

ConsumerConnect reports the health regulatory agency Tuesday, July 11, 2023, said most of the drugs sold by hawkers are counterfeit, substandard, and expired, warning that the sellers of the medicines are merchants of death.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye,  Director-General of NAFDAC, stated this Tuesday at the official flag-off of the regulator’s media sensitisation workshop on the dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbides in the streets.

Drug hawkers constitute a serious challenge in supply chain -NAFDAC Chief

Adeyeye noted the menace of drug hawking constitutes a serious challenge to the healthcare delivery system in the West African country.

The Director-General also explained this development underscores the NAFDAC resolute determination to eradicate the illicit trade in Nigeria.

“Many drug hawkers are knowingly or unknowingly merchants of death who expose essential and life-saving medicines to the vagaries of inclement weather which degrade the active ingredients of the medicine and turn them to poisons thus endangering human lives.

“Most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-illiterate drug hawkers are counterfeit, substandard or expired, and therefore do not meet the quality, safety, and efficacy requirement of regulated medicines, Adeyeye said.

She further noted that prescription drugs are also sold by the itinerant drug hawkers, who also “hold consultation, recommend and prescribe medicines to their gullible patients.”

The NAFDAC Director-General as well said the drug hawkers were the major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks, such as armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, and armed robbers.

Prof. Adeyeye affirmed that the drug hawkers constitute a serious threat to national security.

Indicted drug hawkers to face prosecution

She stated: “Drugs are sensitive life-saving commodities, which should not be sold on the streets, motor parks or open markets just like any other article of trade.

“I wish to warn that any drug hawker arrested by NAFDAC will be prosecuted, will face a jail term, and our Enforcement Officers are currently carrying out synchronised nationwide operation.

“No offender will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law.

Adeyeye, therefore, solicited the cooperation and support of all other law enforcement agencies, media professionals, and other  well-meaning Nigerians towards ridding the country of what she described as “this harmful and shameful practice.”

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